(The Wall Street Journal) “Mr. McConnell hasn’t yet said what immigration bill he would bring to the Senate floor, and Democrats said that could affect the final stages of the budget negotiations.”

WASHINGTON—Congressional leaders were on the cusp of striking a two-year budget deal Tuesday to boost federal spending levels for both the military and domestic programs, after separating for now a stalled immigration fight from efforts to keep the government funded.

The emerging agreement is expected to increase military spending by $80 billion a year and nondefense spending by $63 billion a year, according to lawmakers and congressional aides, though the numbers were still being negotiated.

A final agreement is expected to include funding for community health centers for two years, as well as relief for states and territories rebuilding after last year’s destructive storms, and possibly an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.

With the federal government’s current funding set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Tuesday they were very close to finalizing the long-sought budget agreement.

“I’m optimistic that very soon we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” Mr. McConnell told reporters.

Mr. Schumer said that while some issues were still being worked out, he and Mr. McConnell were “making real progress on a spending bill that would increase the caps for both the military and middle-class priorities on the domestic side.”

Click to continue. By Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes – Feb 7, 2018

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