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article imageLawmakers reach agreement on spending level as deadline nears

By Karen Graham     Nov 24, 2019 in Politics
Negotiations on a package of spending bills to fund the federal government have produced a key breakthrough, though considerably more work is needed to wrap up the long-delayed measures.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, on Saturday confirmed an agreement on allocations for each of the 12 spending bills for the $1.4 trillion budget bundle, reports the Associated Press.
This is a breakthrough and comes after days of long and contentious negotiations between Republicans and Democrats as they hunted for a path to a deal. Just last week, Congress passed another stopgap continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for another month - hours before the November 20 deadline.
Agreement on the top-line numbers will set spending levels for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, And the bipartisan agreement between the top lawmakers of the House and Senate Appropriations committees will allow a quick path for action on a number of the bills, according to CNN.
"The subcommittees are getting to work immediately in an effort to pass all 12 bills before the CR expires on Dec. 20," a source familiar with the talks added about the agreement, according to The Hill.
As part of the deal, the defense and non-defense caps agreed to as part of a two-year budget deal announced in July will stand. Defense spending was set at $738 billion for fiscal 2020, while non-defense spending was $632 billion. However, the agreement does not eliminate the need for negotiations over the two most contentious items, defense spending, and the border wall.
"Individual funding items are being left to the subcommittees in keeping with long-standing committee practice," a second source said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned Trump to stay out of the funding negotiations as lawmakers head toward the Dec. 20 deadline.
"On the first path, President Trump stays out of our way and gives Congress the space to work together and find an agreement," he said. "On the second path, President Trump stomps his feet, makes impossible demands, and prevents his party, the Republicans, from coming to a fair arrangement."
More about Spending bill, Negotiations, December 20 deadline, Defense spending, border wall
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