President Donald Trump signed a sweeping bipartisan budget deal into law this morning, ending a brief government shutdown. Congress labored over the deal late into the night and early into Friday morning, as Sen. Rand Paul refused to consent to expediting Senate votes ahead of the midnight deadline. Ultimately, the Senate voted (71-28) to pass the measure shortly before 2am ET, and House voted (240-186) around 5:30am to send the bill to President Trump’s desk.
The deal officially breaks a months-long stalemate over budgeting that has plagued the appropriations process, and could result in an omnibus finally being passed in March. The extensive bipartisan package includes wide-ranging provisions, as it: (1) funds the government until March 23; (2) suspends the debt ceiling; (3) raises strict budget caps; and (4) offers billions in funding for health care, disaster relief, infrastructure, child care, and education. The bill also makes numerous changes to health care programs, including several health care “extenders,” funding for community health centers (CHCs), delayed cuts to safety net hospitals, the CHRONIC Care Act, the Part B Improvement Act, revisions to MACRA, repeal of IPAB, adjustments to the prescription drug “donut hole,” and more.
Congress is now poised to begin a contentious immigration debate next week, as the Senate will begin consideration of the legislative vehicle (H.R. 2579) for bipartisan immigration reform. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that the process will include an open debate and amendment process. In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stopped short of making such a guarantee, while also trying to reassure Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats that he is resolved to come up with a solution for Dreamers. “If anyone doubts my intention to solve this problem and bring up a DACA and immigration reform bill, do not,” Speaker Ryan said Thursday. “We will bring a solution to the floor, one the president will sign."
Meanwhile, the House is expected to begin next week on a bill (H.R. 620) that would require the Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability. Two bills in the financial services realm are also in the queue for next week, including: (1) a bill (H.R. 3978) that would modify requirements related to mortgage disclosures; and (2) a bill (H.R. 3299) that would amend four existing statutes to require the rate of interest on certain loans remain unchanged after transfer of the loan.