Sens. Corker, Alexander split on budget bill as another shutdown - WSMV News 4

Sens. Corker, Alexander split on budget bill as another shutdown looms

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

Congressional leaders are rushing to pass a massive, two-year budget agreement through the Senate -- and then the House -- by midnight on Thursday in order to prevent the second government shutdown of 2018. 

However, as the shutdown looms, Senate Republicans are still working to get enough votes in their own party to pass the bill. 

In fact, Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, currently have opposite stances on the bill. 

Sen. Corker, who does not support the stopgap measure, is criticizing the bill because it will add almost $300 billion dollars to the nation's debt, which already sits at over $20 trillion. 

"This agreement increases the discretionary spending caps by nearly $300 billion over the next two years, perpetuates the abuse of OCO, and tees up another spending battle two years from now," said Corker in a statement on Thursday. "It is also only partially offset, and most of those offsets occur years from now, doubling down on the irresponsible mentality in Congress of spend-now-pay-later. To say I am discouraged by the outcome of these negotiations would be an understatement.”

Sen. Alexander, siding with GOP leaders, supports the bill because of the funds it dedicates to fighting the opioid epidemic, rebuilding the military and improving child health care coverage. 

“This 2-year budget agreement sets important priorities for our nation: fighting the opioid crisis, ending the sequestration funding restrictions on our military, and improving our nation’s roads, bridges, locks and dams," said Alexander in a statement Thursday. "It also extends funding for the community health centers that nearly 400,000 Tennesseans rely on for their healthcare, and extends funding for CoverKids, which provides health insurance to nearly 74,000 Tennessee children and pregnant women.”

Pres. Trump also supports the bill, tweeting today that the bill "is so important for our great Military," despite earlier comments suggesting he welcomed another government shutdown this year if Democrats continued to deny his proposals to limit immigration into the U.S. 

Senate Democrats are on-board with the bill -- Minority Leader Chuck Schumer even called it a "genuine breakthrough" in bipartisanship.

However, it's outlook is not as promising in the House. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the key creators of the plan, announced her opposition on Wednesday morning with a record-breaking, eight-hour speech hoping to force GOP leaders to agree to a later vote to extend Pres. Obama's DACA program that protects children of undocumented immigrants that expires next month in exchange for passing the budget bill and avoiding another government shutdown. 

In order to stop the shutdown, Senate leaders must approve the measure on Thursday evening with enough time to send it to the House for approval by midnight. 

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this report. 

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