Negotiations on $1.3T catchall spending bill near completion


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Battles over priorities in a huge government-wide spending bill are essentially settled, leaving a scaled-back plan for President Donald Trump’s border wall and a huge rail project that pits Trump against Capitol Hill’s most powerful Democrat as the top issues to be solved.

An agreement could be announced as early as today.

Efforts to tackle politically charged immigration issues and rapidly rising health insurance premiums appeared to be faltering.

Capitol Hill Democrats rejected a White House bid to extend protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats appeared likely to yield on $1.6 billion in wall funding, Trump’s official request for the 2018 budget year, but they were digging in against Trump’s plans to hire hundreds of new immigration agents.

A dispute over abortion seemed likely to scuttle a Senate GOP plan to provide billions in federal subsidies to insurers to help curb health insurance premium increases.

Monday’s developments were described by several lawmakers – as well as congressional aides in both parties who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks remain secretive.

House and Senate action is needed by midnight Friday to avert another government shutdown.

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