Republican and Democratic Senators announced a two-year budget agreement Wednesday that includes an increase in military spending, an extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and additional funds for disaster relief, among other issues.
“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said in a speech on the House floor.
It’s a deal “neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., added.
Congress still has to pass a spending bill by Feb. 8 to keep the government open through March 23.
Here are 6 things that stand out from the Senate’s nearly $400 billion budget deal.
It doesn’t address DACA, leaving “Dreamers” in limbo
Schumer said Democratic leaders are shifting their strategy in order to prvent another government shutdown over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that protects the nearly 800,000 undocumented people who were brought into the U.S. as children.
Instead, Schumer said the party would focus on fighting for a deal that would solve several other areas of concern, including funding for existing infrastructure projects and a plan to combat the opioid epidemic. Democrats are hoping to solve the immigration debate at a later date, Schumer explained.
But Schumer doesn’t speak on behalf of all Democratic lawmakers, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca.
“This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House,” said Pelosi, as she shared the stories of “Dreamers” on the House floor for more than five hours Wednesday. “Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.”
McConnell said he would agree to a debate on immigration after the stopgap spending bill passes.
It provides much-needed disaster relief
The agreement contains about $90 billion in overdue disaster aid, providing relief to hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, in addition to areas destroyed by wildfires, specifically in California.
That would bring the total appropriated for disaster aid in the wake of the 2017 hurricane season to nearly $140 billion.
President Trump met with Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello in the White House in October.
The pair discussed relief efforts and Trump told reporters that he gave his approval to Congress for a funding plan to address damage to the island caused by Hurricane Maria.
“I think we’ve done a really great job and have had tremendous cooperation from the governor, and we’re getting there,” Trump said. “Step by step, it’s taken care of and I say we have a wonderful, and the people of Puerto Rico have, a wonderful representative…”
It increases domestic and military spending
The deal would give a major boost — an $80 billion increase — to the Pentagon for military spending for the current budget year.
Nondefense programs would receive about $60 billion over current levels. Those figures would be slightly increased for the 2019 budget year beginning Oct. 1.
“For the first time in years, our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe,” McConnell said. “It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us. And it will ensure funding for important efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure, and building on our work to fight opioid abuse and drug addiction.”
It extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program
The budget deal also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a system created in 1997 that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, from ages six to 10.
CHIP covers routine check-ups, doctor visits, prescriptions, emergency services and hospital care, among other things, according to HealthCare.gov.
Every state has a CHIP program, but the rules and qualifications vary state by state.
Nearly 9 million children in the U.S. were enrolled in the CHIP program for the fiscal year 2016, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
It aids the fight against the opioid crisis
The deal also takes a large step forward in the national fight against the opioid epidemic — a problem that Trump has been adamant about combatting since he took office. It will dedicate $6 billion toward mental health and the fight against opioid abuse.
“This agreement will also bolster our ongoing national struggle against opioid addiction and substance abuse,” McConnell said. “It will fund new grants, prevention programs and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities all across our country.”
Trump declared the nation’s opioid epidemic to be a “public health emergency” in October.
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said during a speech in the White House on Oct. 26, 2017. “It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge. … We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”
It increases funding for infrastructure projects
Democrats are especially happy about this part of the deal.
Schumer said $20 billion will go toward infrastructure such as highways and bridge construction and repair, water and wastewater projects, and rural broadband.
There’s also $4 billion for construction for veterans hospitals and $4 billion for college aid.
Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.