The compromise legislation released today will keep the government open and running until the end of the fiscal year. A shutdown would have been catastrophic for millions of American families, and it’s encouraging that this Congress may be able to fulfill its basic duty of keeping the government open until the end of this fiscal year.
Thankfully, this deal omits poison pill riders and policy changes that would have slashed funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, Planned Parenthood, the National Institutes of Health, and sanctuary cities. It’s remarkable that in the first major piece of bipartisan legislation expected to pass this Congress, President Donald Trump—a so-called negotiator-in-chief—was unable to secure even one major concession, despite feverish campaigning on hard-right immigration, anti-science, and anti-choice policies. With the economy still continuing to turn around, however, this spending deal could have done more to protect and rebuild the middle class. Investment in infrastructure, education, research, and affordable housing are sorely needed, and ongoing uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act continues to be extremely concerning.
As congressional Republicans struggle to secure a policy win despite controlling the entirety of elected government, it will be important to keep a close eye on the spending package that develops for FY 2018, particularly as it relates to immigration funding. Rather than funding an un-American war on immigrants, this Congress should work to reinvest in the backbone of our economy: the middle class.