Quick Hit – March 24, 2018

by Gene Moran in Quick Hits

What Happened?

On Thursday afternoon, the House passed a 1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending package to avoid a third government shutdown this year, which would have occurred after the expiration of the continuing resolution passed earlier in February. Just after midnight Friday, the spending bill also passed in the Senate despite initial misgivings from Senator Rand Paul. Friday afternoon, President Trump signed the spending package, which includes all 12 appropriations bills and conforms to new spending caps set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that was passed last month. Trump had earlier threatened he would veto the bill due to a lack of funding for his cornerstone border wall with Mexico, and a dismissal of addressing or extending protections for DACA recipients. However, after a phone call with Secretary Mattis, he praised the increase in defense spending, funding the government through September.

What is included in the omnibus spending bill?

  • Homeland Security: At the center of the spending package is a “strong military and secure border,” according to the White House, and indeed this bill provides $6 billion for a border wall with Mexico and related border security technologies, as well as boosts the Department of Homeland Security’s budget by $6.3 trillion.
  • National Defense: The bill increases military spending and provides $654.6 billion for the Pentagon — $700 billion including OCO funding. It specifically increases funding for procurement across the services, provides a pay raise to military personnel, and increases research and development funding.
  • Rebuilding Infrastructure and Combating the Opioid Crisis: The bill provides funding for new Infrastructure projects, specifically $650 billion for Amtrak’s Gateway project, which aims to bolster railway infrastructure between New York and New Jersey, and provides $4 billion across different agencies to deal with the opioid epidemic.
  • Gun Measures and School Safety: Included in the spending package are measures meant to strengthen gun sale background checks and more that $2 billion for new funding to improve school safety.

The Bottom Line: The federal government is funded through September. Of note, there are some allowances for DoD to spend portions of the funds beyond the end of the fiscal year in recognition of the challenge to obligate and spend the funds fully half way through FY 2018. Look for FY18 funds to be flowing into program offices no later than early June.

 

 

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures towards Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending bill, during a signing ceremony, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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