Late last week, as government funding was quickly expiring, the House and Senate passed a budget deal boosting spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. The legislation, which was signed by President Trump, raised the cap on defense discretionary spending by $80 billion for fiscal year 2018 and $85 billion in 2019. Including additional funds for overseas contingency operations, defense spending will total over $700 billion annually for the next two years. The deal raises the cap for nondefense discretionary spending as well, by $63 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $68 billion the following year.
Suspending the debt ceiling until March 1, 2019, was also part of the deal, as well as $6 billion in opioid addiction mitigation and $20 billion in infrastructure investment. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would be extended an additional 4 years, on top of the 6-year extension in January, and $4 billion is provided to speed up claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs health centers.
The legislation also provides funding for disaster relief in areas that were affected by hurricanes and wildfires to the tune of almost $90 billion. Changes were made to Medicare Part D and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), among a few other things.
In the Senate, the bill passed easily, with a vote of 71-28, with 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats voting against the bill. The House vote was closer with the final tally being 240-186.
However, this is not the end. Congress must still pass an omnibus to fund the government through the end of September before temporary funding runs out on March 23rd. The topline numbers are now set, but the next few weeks will give additional details on how the spending is divided up among the different agencies.