Lawmakers Near Spending Compromise to Avoid US Government Shutdown

Rep. Tom Cole R-Oklahoma told The Hill newspaper Monday that Congress is close. “They’re scrambling working really hard to try to get them done so they can file tonight or tomorrow at the latest.”

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2018, about the $1.3 trillion spending bill. That's up $5 million from past year.

The Republican-controlled Congress will need Democratic support to pass a bill that many Republican conservatives are likely to balk at because of its cost.

The president had been especially frustrated in recent days by media coverage of the bill and by conservative Republican lawmakers, some of whom had been calling to harangue him and making their cases loudly on cable news shows he is known to watch.

The bill would contain funding to combat Russian interference in the 2018 midterm election, the aide said. The top four leaders of both House and Senate met Wednesday morning to try to seal the agreement.

"There are a lot of things that I'm unhappy about in this bill", he said in a hastily arranged and meandering address.

For Trump, there are potential difficulties as well beyond the deficit-spending.

Democrats said the money would not be used for any new concrete wall. Negotiators rejected Trump's plans to hire hundreds of new Border Patrol and immigration enforcement agents, congressional aides said.

Lawmakers on Wednesday night agreed on funding levels for every corner of the government with $700 billion budgeted for defence and $591 billion slated for non-defence spending, but the legislation also include policy riders like a bill that incentivizes state and federal authorities to report more data to the country's gun background check system called "Fix NICS".

Big grain buyers, such as Anheuser Busch, Cargill and the ethanol industry, have complained that the glitch gives lucrative tax breaks to grain producers for selling to farming cooperatives, and a lesser break for selling to agriculture companies.

And it leaves out a long-sought provision to stabilize the insurance market by funding subsidies that could lower insurance rates for low-income families by about 40 percent.

The bill calls for tightening gun sales background checks, but falls far short of Democratic demands to close loopholes that now allow some gun sales to go unchecked.

Another $380 million is planned for grants to states to secure U.S. election systems.

"I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded", Trump wrote on Twitter at 9 a.m. EDT.

The Trump Administration's initial budget proposed eliminating the commission.

Telegraphing the conclusion of the made-for-TV drama, an internal White House television feed advertised the event this way: "President Trump Participates in a Bill Signing".

But if Paul or others do not yield, the earliest leadership could hold a vote would be early Saturday - after the government funding deadline.

Congress passed a short-lived Line Item Veto Act in 1996, giving then president Bill Clinton the power to scratch items from spending bills as a means to rein in fiscal excesses. Two brief government shutdowns recently occurred due to Congress' inability to pass appropriations bills in a timely way.

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