- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $1 trillion spending bill to carry the government through September, averting yet another shutdown showdown, but leaving a deeply divided GOP in its wake.

Billed as the first bipartisan compromise of the Trump era, the bill tacked far more toward Democrats’ priorities, delivering increases for a host of domestic programs and for defense while rejecting most of President Trump’s proposed spending cuts.

The 79-18 vote in the Senate reflected the lopsided win: Every Democrat present voted for the deal, while Republicans were split with 32 in favor and 18 opposed.

Mr. Trump must sign it before the end of Friday.

The 3,000-page package was released Monday morning. It cleared the House Wednesday evening, and the Senate at about 2 p.m. Thursday, meaning it was unlikely many lawmakers knew what they were voting on.

“There’s maybe four or five senators that know what’s in it,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who voted for the legislation.

GOP leaders insisted they got some wins, including a $15 billion boost for defense spending and more than $1 billion in new immigration enforcement money.

But Democrats’ list of wins was much longer. They kept money flowing to sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood, they earned budget hikes for the National Endowment for the Arts and a sizable list of other domestic programs, and they secured a bailout for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. They also headed off Mr. Trump’s list of proposed budget cuts.

“The bill shows how bipartisanship in Congress should work — both parties negotiating in good faith in order to find consensus,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

The vote was overshadowed by action on the other side of the Capitol, where House Republicans were powering through a repeal of Obamacare.

Congress will go right back to the spending battlefield, with the 2018 bills due in less than five months. Mr. Trump has said he’ll use that fight to push for a slew of priorities that eluded him this go-around.

Conservative Republicans ticked off a host of areas where they failed, including allowing continued funding for sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood and failing to secure cash for Mr. Trump’s border wall.

“Last November, the American people voted to give Republicans control of both houses of Congress and the White House. We should be funding our priorities, not perpetuating Democrats’ big government programs,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the massive size of the bill meant dangerous provisions are still hidden.

He pointed to one section on page 735 of the bill that more than doubles the number of guest-worker permits issued this year to seasonal workers who staff resort towns.

“They don’t hide the good things, they only hide the bad things,” he said.

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