LAWMAKERS NEARING AGREEMENT ON HIGHER SPENDING LEVELS
The two parties appear to be close to a two-year deal raising the statutory caps on defense and non-defense spending, even as the lingering dispute over the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has largely taken center stage since the beginning of fiscal 2018 and relegated negotiations over topline spending levels to the back burner. No budget deal has been reached yet, but Pentagon funding is expected to jump dramatically — by at least $70 billion above the cap this year and $80 billion in FY 2019, reports Politico. Domestic spending would increase by somewhat smaller amounts over the caps — by $45 billion to $50 billion over the next two years — with the GOP still looking for ways to meet Democrats’ insistence on parity between the two accounts.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats this week said they are willing to divorce talks to fix DACA from budget discussions, a change that could put an end to the short-term spending deals Congress has resorted to since last September. Democrats in the House may not go along, though, complicating negotiations to wrap up FY 2018 appropriations.