Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Border Wall, Tunnel Tussle Hold Up $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

Scott Applewhite/AP
Talks over a $1.3 trillion government spending bill dragged Tuesday as congressional negotiators found themselves tangled in side issues ahead of a Friday deadline.
If lawmakers can agree on the bill, President Donald Trump will reap a huge budget increase for the military while Democrats will cement wins on infrastructure and other domestic programs that they failed to get under President Barack Obama.
First, though, Congress needs to vote. Leaders already missed Monday's deadline to file legislation and progress slowed as negotiators struggled to resolve several sticking points.
Most battles over budget priorities in the huge bill were essentially settled, but a scaled-back plan for Trump's border wall and a fight over a tunnel under the Hudson River still held up a final agreement.
Republican leaders had been hopeful a deal could be announced Tuesday evening, allowing for votes in the House and Senate this week. If a bill — or at least a stopgap measure to keep operations running — doesn't pass Congress by midnight Friday, the government will shut down for a third time this year.
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