Durbin Lauds $1 Trillion Spending Plan As ‘Dramatic Victory’

CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin applauded the $1 trillion spending deal reached in Washington as a “dramatic victory” that would fund the government through September; without putting money towards President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, or making his proposed cuts to popular domestic programs.

Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said the philosophical split among Republican lawmakers meant House Speaker Paul Ryan needed Democratic help to negotiate an omnibus spending package to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year.

The senator said the $1 trillion plan is a measure he can enthusiastically vote for.

“It is a dramatic victory. I can tell you there’s no $40 billion wall, and there is a $2 billion increase in National Institutes of Health medical research. We have the TIGER grant program that continues for the city of Chicago, and no language to penalize the city or county when it comes to sanctuary cities,” he said.

President Trump had proposed a 20 percent cut to the NIH – nearly $6 billion – and the Trump administration had threatened to cut off Justice Department grants to so-called “sanctuary cities” like Chicago, which have laws prohibiting police from cooperating with some federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Durbin said cooperation on the spending bill could be a good sign for health care negotiations, showing that there can be agreement when Republicans and Democrats work together.

“The Republican Party’s in trouble. The same Tea Party faction that is trying to do away with – repeal – the Obamacare program – Affordable Care Act – refused to vote for any budget; and so Speaker Ryan had no choice. He had to sit down and negotiate with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer. In the end, we have a bipartisan budget,” he said.

The House is tentatively scheduled to vote on the budget plan on Wednesday. The House and Senate have until midnight Friday to pass it to avoid a federal government shutdown.

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