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Negotiators Say They’ve Reached ‘Breakthrough’ in Government Funding Talks

February 9, 2022 by Dan McCue
Negotiators Say They’ve Reached ‘Breakthrough’ in Government Funding Talks
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., acknowledges applause as his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau, applauds at the conclusion of a news conference at the Vermont State House to announce he will not seek reelection, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

WASHINGTON— House and Senate appropriators announced Wednesday that they’ve agreed on a framework for approving a fiscal year 2022 spending plan.

Though they offered little insight into what the framework is, the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees said it will allow them to negotiate the details of the final omnibus legislation and get it signed into law by the new March 11 government funding deadline.

“The framework … will allow our subcommittees to get to work finalizing an omnibus,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

“We will now proceed with great intensity to enact legislation making transformative investments to create good-paying American jobs, grow opportunity for the middle class, support the vulnerable who work hard and protect our national security,” she said,

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the agreement will allow for investments in communities and provide increases for health care, education, national security and investment in the middle class, among other priorities.

“In any successful negotiation, both sides have to compromise, and this agreement is no different. But I believe we reached a strong, bipartisan agreement that will allow us to make significant investments in the American people and our communities,” Leahy said, adding, “I look forward to crafting a bill that will receive strong support in both chambers in the coming weeks.”

The formal announcement of the deal came a little over an hour after Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, let word of it slip to reporters in the Senate subway.

As originally reported by The Hill, Shelby said top-line spending numbers for defense and nondefense discretionary programs, which have been a major sticking point in the talks, will come from the framework.

He told the Capitol Hill newspaper that the development was “big,” but declined to go into further detail or comment specifically on whether the disagreement between Democratic and Republican negotiators over policy riders had been resolved.

He added that the framework deal “puts us in a great position to move forward.”

“I’m far more optimistic than I’ve been in months and I think we’re on a path to finish something,” Shelby said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also buoyed by the news, calling it “an important step to strengthen our economic and national security as we meet the needs of the American people.”

“This framework will allow our nation to make bold new investments in American workers and American families while creating good-paying jobs,” Pelosi said. “When the Congress enacts this omnibus, we will also unlock the increased federal funding included in our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will transform our roads, bridges, water systems, airports, broadband and more as we revitalize our middle class.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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