Deal on government funding reached, averting shutdown

Leigh Ann Caldwell, Kasie Hunt and Frank Thorp V
Deal on government funding reached
Deal on government funding reached

A deal has been reached on a bill to fund the government for the final five months of this fiscal year, an agreement that is likely to avert a government shutdown, aides to senior members of Congress told NBC News on Sunday.

Congressional negotiators had been working through the weekend to hash out the last remaining complications in a bill to fund the government.

After President Donald Trump backed down on funding for the construction of a border wall, some additional sticking points remained, including health benefits for coal miners, funding for Puerto Rico and an additional $30 billion for defense, delaying congressional negotiators and causing them to miss their deadline of Friday.

Congress passed and Trump signed into law a one-week extension on Friday to keep the government open after negotiators failed complete the bill last week.

The deal includes an additional $12 billion in defense spending, which is $18 billion less than Trump asked for. It also includes a permanent fix to fund coal miners' health care instead of a temporary extension.

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Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York called the deal "a good agreement for the American people" that "takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table."

"The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure," Schumer said Sunday night.

"Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles," he said. "At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles."

Democrats stressed that there is no money not only for a border wall, but also for a deportation force, and they said there would be no cut in funding for so-called sanctuary cities.

And instead of $3 billion for border security, which was requested by the Trump administration, the bill includes just half of that — $1.5 billion. It also includes $295 million for Puerto Rico's Medicaid program.

A big moment in these negotiations was when Trump backed down from two of his demands last week on money for a border wall and withholding subsidies to help lower-income people buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The House and the Senate still have to pass the bill before it can be signed by the president.