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Monday, 01 May 2017 00:53

U.S. Congress negotiators set spending plan to avert shutdown, bolster defense

Written by  Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. congressional negotiators have hammered out a bipartisan agreement on a spending package to keep the federal government funded through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, a senior congressional aide said on Sunday.

The House of Representatives and Senate must approve the deal before the end of Friday and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature to avoid the first government shutdown since 2013.

On Friday, congressional sources familiar with the negotiations said the deal could include an increase in defense spending for this year totaling around $15 billion. But details of the defense portion of the agreement that was struck over the weekend were not immediately available.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the agreement would increase funding for Puerto Rico's Medicaid healthcare program for the poor, which is facing shortfalls later this year. She did not specify how much more money Puerto Rico would get, however.

Pelosi added that the massive spending bill will also increase funding for several Democratic priorities, including the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion this year. The measure would deliver permanent health benefits for coal miners and their families who faced losing their insurance next month.

During the negotiations, Democrats pushed to protect funding for women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, but details were not yet available.

Read more at Reuters

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