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Lawmakers To Vote On Spending Bill To Avoid A Government Shutdown


Republicans on Capitol Hill are having to do a bit of compromising today. Lawmakers will formally vote on a spending agreement. It's the deal that kept the government open and avoided a total shutdown of the government. Some Republicans think they agreed to a little too much, though. Here's Senator Lindsey Graham talking on CNN.


LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think the Democrats cleaned our clock. I think that - you know, there are things in this bill that I just don't understand. This was not winning from the Republican point of view.

MARTIN: Not winning because the bill required some Democratic votes. And so it required some compromise. Democrats got some of what they wanted, like more money for the arts, more spending on health care and Pell Grants for college. NPR's political editor Domenico Montanaro is in the studio this morning. Hi, Domenico.


MARTIN: So this spending bill, President Trump didn't get funding for the wall. He didn't get big cuts to domestic programs he'd been talking about. Planned Parenthood is still funded. So what did he get?

MONTANARO: Well, regardless of the president's budget director going to the White House Briefing Room - excuse me - yesterday with big pictures that showed the fence - a border fence and claiming a victory for border funding, they did not get border funding, border wall funding, that is.


MONTANARO: They did get an increase in military funding. They got an increase in border security and some fence fixes. And they got money that bars - or they were - they barred money for Gitmo detainee transfer. So some of that, they got some of what they want.

But at the same time, Democrats got some things that they liked. There is no cuts to Planned Parenthood. They got money for NIH, Pell Grants, arts funding, Amtrak. The EPA was largely left alone. And if you like those e-cigarettes, they're going to be subjected to FDA review.

MARTIN: So this was a compromise. Is that just good government - good governance? I mean...

MONTANARO: Well, potentially, but it seems like something set Donald Trump off yesterday because somebody either was on cable TV or something where he saw Democrats, quote, "spiking the football," and he got upset about it, said that - even talked about potentially changing the filibuster rule so that to advance legislation, you need 60 votes in the Senate.

He's tried to say, well, maybe we'll cut that back to 50 votes - 50 votes - only 51 votes. And then in the fall, maybe we need a shutdown so that he could get some more of his priorities through.

MARTIN: Let's move to health care. Republicans are trying again to replace Obamacare. Doesn't look like they have the votes they need though at this point.

MONTANARO: Nope, still the same bill that we've been talking about. They don't have the votes at this point. If they had the votes, they would bring it to the floor.

MARTIN: I want to talk about a presidential candidate, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because she made a rare public appearance yesterday, making her most extensive comments since the election about what happened in the campaign. Let's listen to this clip.


HILLARY CLINTON: I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.

MARTIN: Placing blame on the Russians, on Jim Comey. We're still litigating this election.

MONTANARO: You know, in the NPR Politics podcast, we have a thing at the end that we do called Can't Let It Go. And it seems like for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the election is the thing they both can't let go. You have Donald Trump continuing to talk about the fact that he won all these electoral votes.

He even created this firestorm because he said that, you know, he would have won the popular vote or maybe did falsely because 3 million illegal votes were cast. And, of course, that never happened.

MARTIN: OK, so staying on this theme of presidential campaigns that never end...

MONTANARO: I know. I know where you're going.

MARTIN: ...The first presidential campaign ad for 2020 ran yesterday, believe it or not...

MONTANARO: It has happened.

MARTIN: ...At least in some markets. Let's listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Donald Trump, sworn in as president 100 days ago. America has rarely seen such success.

MARTIN: A presidential campaign ad running in May, years before the race?

MONTANARO: America, rarely seen such success, Rachel. Look. This is a remarkable moment. We saw CNN decided that it was not going to run this ad because it had the false, you know, claim that there's - that the mainstream media is fake news. You know, it's not even clear, you know, what the rationale is for running or not running it. I mean, we're not even near a campaign at this point.

MARTIN: So CNN's saying it's not a campaign ad technically.

MONTANARO: It's not a campaign yet.

MARTIN: So it can't be an ad.

MONTANARO: So, you know, as far as the FCC goes, the Federal Communications Commission, Trump is not really a candidate yet. He hasn't announced his candidacy. He can't qualify for any ballots yet. So that is, you know, we are already in the campaign it seems.

And our elections already go on too long. And people pay far too much attention to presidential elections. And it looks like we're already there. Even Joe Biden was in New Hampshire a couple days ago.

MARTIN: Make it stop.

MONTANARO: (Laughter).

MARTIN: NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thanks so much, Domenico.

MONTANARO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
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