Spending bills advancing despite budget impasse

U.S. News 

Even as Congress is blowing its deadline to produce a budget, a once-dominant Senate committee tried to reassert itself and move ahead on 12 annual spending bills that for years have been offered as a take-it-or-leave-it bundle. The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved two of the most popular spending measures on Thursday, providing spending increases for veterans and funding popular energy and water development programs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised to spend three months of the Senate's time for floor debates on the measures, trying to revive an appropriations process that broke years ago. But a companion House effort faces an uncertain future, as GOP conservatives derailed the efforts of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to pass a separate, broader budget plan. Many GOP conservatives oppose both the GOP budget and the follow-up spending bills, which include higher spending levels of last year's budget deal.

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