US Congress negotiators hammer out $1 trillion budget agreement | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 01.05.2017
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US Congress negotiators hammer out $1 trillion budget agreement

The budget gives the military more funding but no down payment on a border wall with Mexico. The financial plan still has to be approved by the full House of Representatives and Senate.

US Congress negotiators have written out a budget of at least $1 trillion (917 billion euros) to last through the rest of the fiscal year until September, according to congressional aides in Washington on Sunday night.

The Republican-majority Congress is expected to vote on the budget early this week. In order to prevent a government shutdown, the budget must be approved by the House of Representatives and Senate before receiving US President Donald Trump's signature by Friday.

The spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump's presidency, should the spending bill be pushed through. It is expected to be passed, but it is uncertain how it will be received by Republicans in Congress and by the White House.

The fiscal year ends September 30. If the budget is not passed by midnight Friday, it would be the first US federal government shutdown since 2013.

No wall, yet

The budget does not include a down payment on a wall along the US-Mexico border, one of Trump's main promises on his campaign. Trump has said a wall is necessary to prevent illegal immigration, but Democrats refused to agree to a budget with funding for the wall.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, said the spending measure ensures "taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund an ineffective border wall."

The military will receive a $15 billion boost and border security will receive $1.5 billion more.

The budget also includes $68 million to reimburse New York City and other local governments for protecting Trump Tower, where Trump's transition team met following the election. Trump's wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, currently reside in Trump Tower.

Success for Democrats

Many measures favored by Democrats made their way into the budget.

A $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health is in the budget, which was one of the programs Trump wanted to be reduced. There will also be additional funding to fight opioid abuse which is a serious problem in many US states.

Grants for summer school and transportation funding will also be increased.

While well short of their initial aspirations, Democrats secured $295 million for Puerto Rico's Medicaid problems.

kbd/jm (AP, Reuters)

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