The government was briefly shut down overnight on Friday, February 9, as Congress rushed to reach a broad spending agreement to keep the government open and set spending policy parameters for the next two years. This is the second government shutdown in just three weeks. The bill, passed by both chambers and signed by President Trump over the weekend, includes another continuing resolution to fund the government through March 23 allowing lawmakers enough time to write an $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 also set the stage for a boost in federal spending for defense and domestic programs by $300 million over the next two years, slightly more than half of which will go towards increasing the Pentagon’s budget. Budget caps set by the Budget Control Act will be lifted to allow for the additional spending. The bill includes a needed $90 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, California, Florida, and Texas and a suspension of the debt ceiling for one year. Additional domestic spending was allotted for education, infrastructure, fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic, medical research, and funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for ten years.
Notably, the legislation did not include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which will lead to even further immigration debates in the next few weeks as the March 6 deadline for DACA expiration approaches.
President Trump is expected to release his administration’s budget proposal as early as today. The nonbinding document outlines many of the president’s priorities for the upcoming year, but it is unclear how it will be received on Capitol Hill given the new bipartisan deal.
If you’re interested in keeping up to date on the latest news and opportunities to engage in Washington, DC, join us for our upcoming Monthly Policy Update call on Thursday, February 22.