January 16, 2018 / 9:19 PM / 3 months ago

Factbox: Big-ticket items at centre of U.S. Congress spending bill

(Note language that may offend some readers in paragraph 5)

(Reuters) - Republicans who control the U.S. Congress are expected to try to pass a temporary funding bill before a Friday deadline, when existing money is set to expire and federal agencies will begin to shut down.

Congress in late December approved a stop-gap measure to fund the government for an additional month after failing to resolve differences over military versus non-defence spending levels, immigration and other issues.

Here are the major items that are being debated in a spending bill for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1:

IMMIGRATION

Many Democrats have said they will not vote for a long-term spending bill - or a stop-gap measure to avoid a partial government shutdown - without a deal to protect young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, known as “Dreamers.”

President Donald Trump rejected an agreement reached by a bipartisan group of senators last week and talks ground to a halt after reports he used the term “shithole” to describe African countries, triggering a firestorm of outrage. Trump denies using the word.

Republicans need some Democratic votes in the Senate to pass a funding bills.

MILITARY SPENDING

House of Representatives conservatives in December failed in their bid to attach a major defence spending increase that would fund the Pentagon through September. Instead, Congress agreed to fund the military through Jan. 19, like most other programs.

But the December stop-gap measure did include a $4.7 billion increase to be used for missile defence and ship repair.

Democrats and Republicans continue negotiations on higher funding in a long-term spending bill for both military and non-military programs.

DISASTER AID

An $81 billion disaster aid bill was going to be attached to the temporary government funding bill in December. Instead, the House approved it as a stand-alone bill, only to see the Senate put off action.

About $52 billion was already provided to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and several states hit by severe hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters.

The $81 billion in additional disaster aid is expected to be attached to either a short- or long-term government funding package. Democrats want to do more for Puerto Rico, while some Republicans worry about the mounting costs of disaster aid. Others are jockeying for additional disaster relief for their states.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps provide medical care to nearly 9 million children in low-income families, got $2.85 billion in December to cover expenses through March.

Lawmakers have been working on a more permanent funding solution for the CHIP program. It is expected to be addressed in some capacity in a short-term spending bill, which could possibly extend CHIP reauthorisation long term.

HEALTHCARE

The Senate in December delayed a bid to maintain federal funding for healthcare subsidies for low-income people participating in the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Senator Susan Collins agreed to support Republican tax legislation last month in exchange for votes on the subsidies and another proposal to create a reinsurance program to fund high-risk pools for patients who have difficulty finding health insurance.

The expectation is that the healthcare measures will be attached to a must-pass piece of legislation such as the longer-term spending deal.

FISA

Congress in December extended the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act through Friday to give lawmakers time to reconcile competing House and Senate versions.

The House last week passed a six-year extension with minimal changes. The Senate, where the bill will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, is expected on Tuesday to hold a procedural vote to advance the legislation.

Reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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