Congress Reaches Bipartisan Agreement to Fund Government Through September

The Capitol building last week. A government shutdown would have been a major political embarrassment for Republicans. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement on Sunday to fund the government through September, effectively ending any suspense about the possibility of a government shutdown next weekend.

The agreement, which still must be voted on by lawmakers, includes increased funding for the military and for border security. But it does not include funding for the wall that President Trump wants to build along the border with Mexico, one of his major campaign promises.

The deal increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, despite the Trump administration’s request that its budget be reduced for the rest of the fiscal year. And it provides tens of millions of dollars to reimburse costs incurred by local law enforcement agencies to protect Mr. Trump and his family — a boon to New York City, which has had the costly task of helping to protect Trump Tower.

The spending package would be the first significant bipartisan measure approved by Congress during the Trump presidency. Republicans, despite having control of both houses of Congress and the White House, were unable to pass any marquee legislation in the president’s first 100 days.

The deal should spare Republicans the embarrassment of seeing the government shut down on their watch. But it also gave a glimpse of the reluctance of lawmakers to bend to Mr. Trump’s spending priorities, like his desire for sharp cuts to domestic programs, with the increase in funding for medical research a prime example. And it leaves the border wall looming as a fight in future spending negotiations, especially if Mr. Trump presses the issue, as he vowed to do during a rally Saturday night to mark his 100th day in office.

Details of the agreement were not yet public on Sunday night, but several congressional aides described key parts of it. The measure will cover the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Lawmakers had already taken action to keep the government open while they finalized the spending agreement. On Friday, Congress approved a one-week spending measure that averted a shutdown on Saturday.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Thomas Kaplan and Matt Flegenheimer