Congress agrees $1 trillion budget deal but no money for border wall

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Negotiators reach agreement on spending package to keep the US federal government funded until September, according to multiple sources

Negotiators have reached a bipartisan agreement on a spending package to keep the US federal government funded until the end of September, according to congressional aides.

The House of Representatives and Senate must approve the deal before the end of Friday and send it to Donald Trump for his signature to avoid the first government shutdown since 2013.

The Washington Post and wire agencies reported that Congress was expected to vote early this week on the agreement that is likely to include increases for defense spending and border security, citing aides who wished to remain anonymous.

No money will be allocated for Donald Trumps pet project of a border wall with Mexico after the president bowed to Democratic resistance to the plan.

On Friday, congressional sources familiar with the negotiations said the deal could include an increase in defense spending for this year totaling around $15bn. But details of the agreement were not immediately available on Sunday night.

Democrats were pushing to protect funding for womens healthcare provider Planned Parenthood and sought additional Medicaid money to help the poor in Puerto Rico get healthcare.

The House is likely to vote first, probably early in the week and send the measure to the Senate for approval before Fridays midnight deadline when existing funds expire.

Republicans who control Congress and opposition Democrats have been in intensive negotiations for weeks over the legislation that would provide around $1 trillion in Washington money for an array of federal programs, from airport and border security operations to soldiers pay, medical research, foreign aid and domestic education.

The Republican-led Congress averted a government shutdown last Friday by voting for a stop-gap spending bill that gave lawmakers another week to work out federal spending over the final five months of the fiscal year.

Congress was tied up for months trying to work out $1 trillion in spending priorities for the current fiscal year. Lawmakers were supposed to have taken care of the fiscal 2017 appropriations bills by last October.

Democrats backed Fridays stop-gap bill a day after House Republican leaders again delayed a vote on major healthcare legislation sought by Trump and opposed by Democrats. The legislation would dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, but Republican moderates balked at provisions added to entice hard-line conservatives.

The Trump administration also agreed to continue funding for a major component of Obamacare despite Republican vows to end the program.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/01/congress-agrees-1-trillion-budget-deal-but-no-money-for-border-wall

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