Speed Reads

to shut down or not to shut down

Congress set to vote on bipartisan spending package

Congress is expected to vote Thursday on a bipartisan budget deal worth nearly $400 billion. The two-year deal includes a roughly $300 billion bump for military spending and domestic programs, as well as nearly $90 billion for disaster relief.

The bill's passage would finance the federal government until September and allow Congress to work on a more robust long-term budget bill, The New York Times says. Additionally, the budget includes compromises meant to placate both Democrats and Republicans, including $6 billion to fight the opioid crisis and $4 billion to fund health care for veterans.

But many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), are hesitant to support the bill because it doesn't include a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants, also known as DREAMers. Pelosi, however, has reportedly avoided demanding that her Democratic colleagues formally oppose the spending bill. Other Democrats like Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.), who sits on the House Budget Committee, say the bill needs to pass: "If Democrats cannot support this kind of compromise, Congress will never function."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) admitted the proposal was far from "a perfect bill," but called it "our best chance … to make progress on issues directly affecting the American people."

The bill is not without its opponents on the other side of the aisle. Fiscal conservatives, like Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have raised concerns about its cost. The bill "[doubles] down on the irresponsible mentality in Congress of spend-now-pay-later," Corker said. On Wednesday night, the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced its opposition to the bill, saying that "growing the size of government by 13 percent is not what the voters sent us here to do."

Ryan predicted Thursday that the proposal would pass his chamber. Without a deal, the government will shut down Friday.