Senate Passes Bipartisan Budget Deal

The U.S. Senate passed and sent to President Trump a bipartisan budget deal that boosts domestic and military spending, blocks contentious policy riders, and averts a federal debt crisis and another government shutdown.

The Senate gave its ‘stamp of approval’ to the budget deal the White House and Congressional Democrats struck last month, easing the way to pass individual spending bills in September.

Passage of top-line spending levels was key to boosting September chances to enact a fiscal year 2020 USDA spending bill, weighed down by policy riders in a $24 billion House-passed version.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the deal, “The administration successfully kept ‘far left poison pills’ and policy riders, entirely out of the process…no poison pills—a big win for the White House.”

Removing the so-called “poison pills” ended 30 riders, like those impeding USDA’s pork slaughter rule and relocation of USDA research agencies, ERS and NIFA.

But Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer also claimed big wins for his side saying, “Not only does this agreement end the sequester, it includes a significant increase in support for domestic priorities. In fact, the budget deal increases domestic budget authority $10 billion more than defense.”

The Senate voted 67 to 28 to send the House-passed two-year budget-debt-funding deal to the President, in a rare display of bipartisanship. Schumer said prior to the vote, “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote ‘yes.'”

Budget passage ends spending uncertainty for ag and other sectors, keeps the government open and averts a U.S. debt crisis, though lawmakers must still pass agency spending bills in September.

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