To avoid a third government shutdown this year, Congressional leaders have finalized a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill on Wednesday. The new spending bill is set to boost military and domestic spending but only provides for a fraction of the $25 billion President Trump was seeking for the border wall.
Negotiators were faced with an end-of-the-week deadline to fund the government or face the third shutdown this year. Speaker Paul Ryan appeared at the White House to quell concerns about whether President Trump supported the bill. The White House has now confirmed the president backed the legislation.
The bill, while it is large and boosts several areas of spending, does not provide measures to prevent the deportation of immigrant "Dreamers." Speaker Paul Ryan said, "No bill of this size is perfect, but this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad."
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Two focal points of the budget deal have been the border wall and gun control legislation. President Trump was made a push for $25 billion to fund the border wall but this $1.3 trillion budget bill only provides $1.6 billion for the border measures.
Congressional leaders tentatively agreed to include bipartisan provisions to increase school safety funds and improve compliance with the criminal background check system when purchasing a firearm. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be allowed under the new bill to research gun violence, an idea pushed by Democrats.
As for the young illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States, there was no resolution reached to protect them. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "We are disappointed that we did not reach agreement on Dreamer protections that were worthy of these patriotic young people."
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was behind an earlier shutdown of the government this year after he objected to the deficit spending. Senator Paul tweeted Wednesday in opposition to new legislation known as "omnibus."
"It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood, and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni … wait, what?" Paul said on Twitter. The biggest factor was support from Trump.
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When talk that Trump's support for the bipartisan spending bill was waning reached Senator Paul he hurried to a face-to-face with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The White House later said in an official statement that the president was initially concerned that the package details weren't being presented to Congress and the public as well as they should be.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "The president and the leaders discussed their support for the bill." Both parties agreed on $4.6 billion in funding to fight the nation's opioid epidemic, which is counter-intuitive unless they plan on finally going after the drug manufacturers who are turning a blind eye to suspicious orders and flooding the streets with illegal shipments of pills.
The bill also included $2 billion to strengthen school security through training grants and security measures as well as treatment for the mentally ill. Medical research at the National Institutes of Health will also see a boost of $3 billion while child care and development is set to increase by $2.4 billion.
An Obama-era transportation grant known as TIGER will also see a boost as its budget is tripled to $1.5 billion and the head start program for preschoolers will get a $610 million boost with an additional $2.4 billion aimed at grants for child care.
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