Dems reject immigration deal as budget deadline nears


WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Hill Democrats have rejected a White House bid to extend protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in funding for President Donald Trump's long-sought border wall as Washington talks on a $1.3 trillion catchall spending bill hit a critical stage today.

Disputes remain over immigration enforcement and a smaller infusion of wall funding, as well as a major rail project that pits Trump against his most powerful Democratic adversary, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Today's developments were described by congressional aides in both parties who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks remain secretive.

All sides pressed toward an agreement by tonight, though aides said it appeared more likely that the measure would be unveiled Tuesday for a House vote Thursday. House and Senate action is needed by midnight Friday to avert another government shutdown.

The bipartisan measure is loaded with political and policy victories for both parties. Republicans and Trump are winning a long-sought budget increase for the Pentagon, while Democrats obtain funding for infrastructure, the opioid crisis and a wide swath of domestic programs.

The bill would implement last month's budget agreement, providing 10 percent increases for the Pentagon and domestic agencies. Coupled with last year's tax cuts, it heralds the return of trillion-dollar budget deficits as soon as the budget year starting in October.

While most of the funding issues in the enormous measure have been sorted out, fights involving a number of policy "riders" – so named because they catch a ride on a difficult-to-stop spending bill – continued into the weekend.

As is typical, many or most of the policy riders were melting away.

For instance, an effort to add a plan to revive federal subsidies to stabilize the individual health insurance market and help the poor cover out-of-pocket costs under President Barack Obama's health law appeared to be failing. A complicated dispute involving abortion was at fault.

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