The Latest: Senate passes spending bills amid border dispute
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and a package of spending bills (all times local):
The Senate has passed a long-overdue bundle of spending bills in a modest sign of progress toward implementing this summer’s hard-won budget deal.
But an ongoing, divisive battle over President Donald Trump’s demands for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to bedevil lawmakers seeking a broader agreement that would enable passage of the full $1.4 trillion slate of agency appropriations bills.
The sweeping bipartisan vote reflects broad support for Cabinet agencies funded by the bill — including the departments of Justice, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation — as well as a bipartisan decision to keep the measure free of politically controversial items.
The almost 600-page measure totals $209 billion. It fills in many of the line-by-line details of the July budget deal, which averted the return of stinging across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
A bitter fight over funding for border fencing is placing in peril Capitol Hill efforts to forge progress on more than $1.4 trillion worth of overdue spending bills.
It’s one of the few areas in which divided government in Washington has been able to deliver results in the Trump era.
Poisonous political fallout from the ongoing impeachment battle isn’t helping matters.
Lawmakers are likely to prevent a government shutdown next month with a government-wide stopgap spending bill. But there has been little progress, if any, on the tricky trade-offs needed to balance Democratic demands for social programs with President Donald Trump’s ballooning border wall demands.
Even an expected Senate vote on Thursday to pass a $209 billion bundle of four bipartisan spending bills isn’t regarded as much headway.