House and Senate lawmakers agreed Tuesday night on a $1.1 trillion budget bill, and a full vote in both houses is expected before the Thursday funding deadline thus averting a government shutdown, The Wall Street Journal
The 1,600-page bill reflects the influence Republicans enjoy in the wake of the midterm elections that solidified GOP control of the House and brings the party control of the Senate in January, Politico
"The bill will allow us to fulfill our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown," said Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, the House Appropriations Committee chairman.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, urged Democrats to back the measure.
"In today's era of slam-down politics, we were able to set aside our differences," Mikulski said. "Working across the aisle and across the dome, we created compromise without capitulation," Politico reported.
Politico characterized the budget, which keep the government going until September 2015, as "something of an awkward truce with the president."
According to The Washington Post,
the deal "will allow the incoming Republican-controlled Congress to clear the decks of lingering spending issues while setting the stage for a prolonged fight with President Obama over immigration policy."
Among the highlights of the still fluid bill
• Republicans anticipate that the budget will deliver changes regarding "swaps push out" rules they have sought in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, Politico noted.
• The IRS will get $346 million less than what it is currently receiving – much less than what the White House had requested. At the same time, the IRS is authorized to continue to play a supporting role in the Affordable Care Act – something Republicans initially opposed, according to Politico.
• On school nutrition, a program first lady Michelle Obama takes a special interest in, local authorities will be given greater flexibility to provide healthy lunches — a GOP victory.
• The Environmental Protection Agency will be blocked from applying the Clean Water Act to farm ponds and irrigation ditches, the Post reported – another notch for the GOP.
• The Pentagon will get funds to pay for military operations against the Islamic State, and to help countries on Russia's periphery defend themselves.
• The State Department gets overseas contingency outlays to pay for refugee relief and disaster assistance. There is also money for economic aid to Central America. Egypt's new government will get its usual $1.3 billion in military aid though a bit less in economic assistance, Politico noted.
• The Energy Department will get more money for nuclear weapon activities.
• The Department of Veterans Affairs gets more funding for veterans' health.
• More money is also set aside for conservation, the environment, and harbor maintenance. The National Science Foundation is budgeted more money and the National Institutes of Health gets a slight increase in its budget.
• There will be very substantial new money to fight Ebola — $5.4 billion
• A rider grants private individual the right to donate up to $324,000 a year to a national political party, according to Politico. Another blocks the Transportation Department from requiring truck drivers to get two nights sleep prior to beginning their new work week, the Post reported.
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