Senate settles budget battle
Government shutdown still possible
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders brokered a long-elusive budget agreement Wednesday that would shower the Pentagon and domestic programs with an extra $300 billion throughout the next two years.
But both Democratic liberals and GOP tea party forces swung against the plan, raising questions about its chances just a day before the latest government shutdown deadline.
The measure was a win for Republican allies of the Pentagon and for Democrats seeking more for infrastructure projects and combatting opioid abuse.
But it represented a bitter defeat for many liberal Democrats who sought to use the party’s leverage on the budget to resolve the plight of immigrant “Dreamers” who face deportation after being brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The deal does not address immigration.
Senate leaders hope to approve the measure today and send it to the House for a confirming vote before the government begins to shut down today at midnight. But hurdles remain to avert the second shutdown in a month.
While Senate Democrats celebrated the moment of rare bipartisanship — Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a “genuine breakthrough” — progressives and activists blasted them for leaving immigrants in legislative limbo. Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, herself a key architect of the budget plan, announced her opposition Wednesday morning and mounted a remarkable daylong filibuster on the House floor, trying to force GOP leaders in the House to promise a later vote on legislation to protect the younger immigrants.
“Let Congress work its will,” Pelosi said, before holding the floor for more than eight hours without a break. “What are you afraid of?”