UPDATE | House OKs $1.3 trillion budget bill, but Senate stalls


BC-US--Budget Battle,8th Ld-Writethru

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress was poised to pass a giant $1.3 trillion spending bill that would end the budget battles for now, but not without risking another shutdown as conservatives objected to big outlays on Democratic priorities at a time when Republicans control the House, Senate and White House.

This would be the third federal shutdown this year, an outcome both parties want to avoid.

But in crafting a sweeping deal that busts budget caps, they've stirred conservative opposition and set the contours for the next funding fight ahead of the midterm election.

The House easily approved the measure today, 256-167, a bipartisan tally that underscored the popularity of the compromise, which funds the government through September. It beefs up military and domestic programs, delivering federal funds to every corner of the country.

But action stalled in the Senate, as conservatives ran the clock in protest. They can't stop the bill indefinitely. But without agreement, voting would spill into the weekend, past the midnight Friday deadline to fund the government.

"Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses - and parties," tweeted Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who spent the afternoon tweeting details found in the 2,200-page bill that was released the night before. "No one has read it. Congress is broken."

The omnibus spending bill was supposed to be an antidote to the stopgap measures Congress has been forced to pass – five in this fiscal year alone – to keep government temporarily running amid partisan fiscal disputes.

Leaders delivered on President Donald Trump's top priorities of boosting Pentagon coffers and starting work on his promised border wall, while compromising with Democrats on funds for road building, child-care development, fighting the opioid crisis and more.

But the result has been unimaginable to many Republicans after campaigning on spending restraints and balanced budgets. Along with the recent GOP tax cuts law, the bill that stood a foot tall at some lawmakers' desks ushers in the return of $1 trillion deficits.

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