Budget Deal To Avoid Government Shutdown Nears
February 06, 2018
Senate leaders close to making a two-year budget deal to avoid government shutdown; House bill cuts ObamaCare public health fund by $2.85 billion and reallocates it; U.S. trade deficit reaches a nine-year high as import levels soar.
- Senate leaders close to making a two-year budget deal to avoid government shutdown. Senate leaders are nearing a two-year budget deal that would help to prevent a government shutdown, according to Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Tuesday. The deal would set spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Schumer met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday morning, and both leaders seemed pleased with the progress made. The current plan is for the Senate to vote on a stand-alone, year-long defense appropriations bill either on Tuesday or Wednesday that is expected to fail. The vote is intended to demonstrate that a six-week spending measure expected from the House that would fund military programs for a year does not have the votes to pass the Senate. If Democrats can block this standalone defense spending bill, then McConnell could amend the House resolution to include whatever deal he and Schumer work out in the next 24 hours. However, if Senate leaders fail to finalize the deal within the next day, McConnell could amend the House resolution with a fallback option to keep federal agencies open. Regardless of the outcome, Senate leaders don’t expect another government shutdown this week. [The Hill]
- House bill cuts ObamaCare public health fund by $2.85 billion and reallocates it. The House’s short-term bill to fund the government cuts $2.85 billion over 10 years from an ObamaCare public health fund and allocating the funding to a range of health-care programs. The cut is being criticized by public health groups who warn that it will interfere with work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in areas including vaccination and anti-smoking. The public health fund, scheduled to spend about $10 billion over 10 years, has been a target for offsets for other spending in recent years. Democrats agreed to cut the fund in 2016 as part of the 21st Century CURES act boosting medical research. The decision to cut funding is being voted on in the House Tuesday comes as part of a range of offsets to pay for the extension of expiring healthcare programs and the funding of community health centers. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. trade deficit reaches a nine-year high as import levels soar. The U.S. trade gap widened more than expected in December, reaching its highest level since 2008 as robust domestic demand pushed imports to a record high. According to the Commerce Department on Tuesday, the trade deficit increased 5.3 percent to $53.1 billion, the highest level since October 2008. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the trade deficit to rise to $52.0 billion in December after a previously reported $50.5 billion in November. [CNBC]