Senate has reached a bipartisan deal to prevent a government shutdown this weekend, but seems reluctant to boost hurricane relief funds, provide $12bn of aid to hurricane-hit Texas and Florida and invest $2bn more in border security.
John Cornyn, the Republican leader in the Senate, said: “I’m pleased that we were able to bring the [political] fire-fight to a halt in Congress. I’m pleased that it was averted.”
But Senate Democrats object to a federal debt limit increase, removing a major obstacle to a clean funding bill that already passed the House and survived a test vote in the Senate, by a vote of 65-33.
They also demand that the money only be used to fight opioids, not immediately construct a wall along the US-Mexico border. The White House has rejected their demands.
Cornyn said: “I’m not going to prejudge what will happen once the president’s actually down in the chamber on the debate, but this was an important first step.
Senator John Cornyn said: ‘I’m pleased that we were able to bring the [political] fire-fight to a halt in Congress.’ Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
“I think it’s clear that members on both sides are uncomfortable and don’t feel that they’ve given him what he wanted. There’s no question that we needed to get this first one done. I’m pleased that we did.”
“Anything else is going to take a lot longer,” Cornyn added.
The agreement was reached after days of difficult negotiations and after the most divisive battles of the year died down. As the deal was reached Senator Chris Coons said it had “the risk of becoming yet another thing that we punt”.
Democrats said they had agreed to the deal to force a compromise over immigration, border security and spending if Republicans want to extend the debt limit and agree on spending bills to keep the government running in October.
Shutting down the government doesn’t have to be the path to success | The Spectator Read more
Asked if he believed Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell would accept this deal, Cornyn said: “I hope so.”
He also said he believed the longer Democrats pressed their demands, the more likely it was that they would cave.
“I’m sorry they haven’t jumped on this quicker. But I think if it drags on a long time, where the debt limit is part of it, the only other issue is the funding, then I do believe we’ll get a deal.”
President Donald Trump and his party appear to be resolved to fight their feud over the fate of Daca recipients, who were brought illegally to the US as children, out of what Cornyn called their “stupidity”.
Meanwhile Republicans are attempting to win the battle over fiscal issues in the face of strong public opposition to raising spending. Another bill has already passed in the House and Republicans are hopeful for a similar outcome in the Senate.