Lawmakers rob Peter to pay Paul on spending bills

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is cutting back armed air marshals but increasing funding to deal with a surge in unaccompanied immigrant children. It’s boosting funding for gun background checks and is resisting tea party cuts to economic development programs. Military readiness is taking a hit to pay for more ships and airplanes.

It’s trade-off time on Capitol Hill.

As Congress stands at an impasse on most major issues, it is waist deep in annual spending bills that offer lawmakers secondary opportunities to make policy.

But with agency budgets frozen on average, in order to add money for procurement of Coast Guard ships or to ease a backlog of unprocessed rape kits, the money has to come from a program that somebody else treasures.