Congress has until midnight to pass a federal budget deal or face a government shutdown. According to Politico, White House officials are urging federal agencies to prepare for a lapse in government spending.
Missouri U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, R, and Claire McCaskill, D, continue working with their chamber on an agreement. Blunt’s office says the deal includes a two-year extension of funding for community health centers totaling $7.8 billion – an increase of $600 million. Blunt has championed the reauthorization of community health centers funding and McCaskill has co-sponsored the measure.
“More than half a million Missourians, many of whom are uninsured or on Medicaid, rely on community health centers for quality, affordable health care,” says Blunt.
Additionally, the legislation contains an additional $165 billion in defense funding over two years and an additional four years of funding for a children’s health insurance safety net program often called CHIP.
McCaskill says she’s also pleased the plan comprises of $6 billion to combat America’s crisis with addictive prescription drugs, $20 billion in funding for rural infrastructure projects and $90 billion in disaster aid.
“These are resources that will save lives, strengthen our military and boost jobs,” she says.
The agreement calls for boosting federal spending by about $300 billion and raising the debt ceiling until March 2019. The holdup in that chamber appears to be coming from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). He wants an amendment vote to keep Congress under strict budget caps, as well as stripping the debt limit from the package. Senate GOP leaders reportedly still think they can negotiate with Paul.
If the Senate passes the budget package, the House is having its own difficulties. Conservative opposition is making Republican leaders reach out to Democrats. The measure does not include changes to immigration policy that would end uncertainty for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children – a provision that Democrats have been fighting for.
Republican aides have told the national media that GOP leaders have begun discussing a one- or two-day continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown.