Four months late, Democratic and GOP bargainers reach a budget agreement

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Top lawmakers announced Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans had reached an agreement on a framework to govern overall defense and domestic spending. This opens the door for the development of bills detailing how the government will spend more than $1 trillion for everything, from tanks for the Army to veterans hospitals.

Four months late, Democratic and GOP bargainers reach a budget agreement

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Top lawmakers announced Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans had reached an agreement on a framework to govern overall defense and domestic spending. This opens the door for the development of bills detailing how the government will spend more than $1 trillion for everything, from tanks for the Army to veterans hospitals.

The details of the agreement were not disclosed by Senate and House bargainers. They have been trying to come to an agreement on how much to increase defense programs' funding, which was $672 billion last fiscal year, and domestic programs' funding, which was $627 billion.

This agreement is significant as the spending arrangements for the federal fiscal year which began on Oct. 1 are still a sticking point between the parties. The government has been functioning at the same level last year. This announcement indicates that the two sides are working together to write bills that will allow them to build new programs into agency budgets.

The government has been funded by a number of temporary bills since October. These temporary bills have continued spending decisions that were made over a year ago. The 12 new bills are to be completed by lawmakers before March 11, when the current stopgap measure expires.

There's always a chance that a short-term bill will expire and cause gridlock or a shutdown. It was unlikely that a shutdown would result in closing national parks, reducing federal benefits for those who receive them, and other headline-grabbing effects. This is because it would not be in either party's best interests this election year.

Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, stated that budget writers will work with "great intensity" to complete bills by March 11.

Alabama's Sen. Richard Shelby, the Senate Appropriations panel's top Republican, stated that there was a bipartisan agreement on an overall framework, but that "we have a lot to do."

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