Republicans and Democrats kiss and… make up?

Elisabeth M. Popolow, Contributing Writer

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     After much feet dragging and constant barking within both parties, Republicans and Democrats finally passed a budget deal for the 2019 fiscal year, and for the next two years. However, there were two massive issues left out of the bill completely.

     The largest and most important concern is the absence of any action for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The second matter is that there is no mention of any monies going toward the construction of Trump’s most infamous campaign promise, a border wall between the US and Mexico.
It’s approximated that there will be a $300 billion raise in funding caps which will be portioned in $164 billion to the Pentagon and $131 to other domestic priorities. The bill includes a whopping $80 billion increase in defense this year alone, with another $80 billion tacked on next year.

     A good chunk of $90 billion will go toward much needed disaster relief for Texas, Florida, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in the colossal damages sustained from several hurricanes that has left millions without shelter, clean water and electricity. The bill also suspends the debt-limit through March 2019.

     Here is a further break down of the funding included in the budget plan as outlines by Breitbart and CNN: $10 billion for the country’s crumbling infrastructure, $2.9 billion for child-care, $4 billion for college affordability programs and $3-$6 billion to aid in the “war” on drugs, especially the growing epidemic of opioid and substance abuse.

     The plan repeals The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was put in place by President Obama to limit ever expanding Medicare costs should the need arise in the future.

     This means that in a nation where healthcare is not universal and virtually unaffordable without insurance, it will be even more daunting for Americans to be able to receive proper medical attention. In a more positive move, a ten-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is being implemented.

     In an article by the New York Times, “House Democrats, after threatening to bring the bill down because it did nothing to protect young undocumented immigrants, gave Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin the votes he did not have in his own party and ensured passage. In the end, 73 House Democrats voted yes to more than offset the 67 Republicans who voted no.”

     Ryan promised Democrats that he will work toward finding a solution to help Dreamers when he stated to journalists on Thursday the 8th, “I know that there is a real commitment to solving the DACA challenge in both political parties. That’s a commitment that I share. If anyone doubts my intention to solve this problem and bring up a DACA and immigration reform bill, do not. We will bring a solution to the floor, one the president will sign.”

     House minority leader Nancy Pelosi remains skeptical of Ryan’s assurances to Democrats about extending DACA. The Washington Post quotes Pelosi as saying, “I’m greatly disappointed that the Speaker does not have the courage to lift the shadow of fear from the lives of these inspiring young people. When we protect the Dreamers, we honor the highest ideals of America. Their patriotism, their perseverance, their optimism are an inspiration that stirs the conscience of our entire nation.”
In the senate, both Democrats and Republicans are relishing the taste of a bipartisan victory. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is amiably content with the win. “What makes Democrats proudest of this bill is that after a decade of cuts to programs that help the middle class, we have a dramatic reversal. Funding for education, infrastructure, fighting drug abuse and medical research will all, for the first time in years, get very significant increases and we have placed Washington on a path to deliver more help to the middle class in the future.”

     Finally, after a very pressing and painful last few weeks, America and its government can take a breath. Appropriate funding has been allocated to its respectful places in a bipartisan approved budget deal.

     The status of DACA is, at the moment, truly worrisome and will hopefully be resolved in the near future as promised by House Speaker Paul Ryan. That’s one enormous brick off the government’s chest—well, at least for now in the form of future spending. Major issues such as immigration, gun-control, healthcare and the environment can resume being bickered over in earnest.

Elisabeth is a creative writing major and a contributing writer for The Voice