Senate Spending Deal Includes Boost for Military, Disaster Aid

February 7, 2018 03:17 PM
Budget Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Senate leaders agreed on a bipartisan two-year plan to increase federal spending by nearly $300 billion over two years, a pact likely to avert a government shutdown on Friday.

The agreement provides increases in defense spending sought by Republicans and more money for domestic programs championed by Democrats. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the plan a “significant agreement” that gives both parties what they want.

Lawmakers intend to combine the two-year spending deal with a short-term measure to keep the government operating when current funding runs out at the end of the day Thursday. The measure would keep the government open through March 23 to give lawmakers time to write longer-term spending bills.

Here are some provisions of the agreement, according to lawmakers, congressional summaries and officials familiar with the plan:

  • Federal debt ceiling would be suspended until March 2019. The ceiling limits borrowing on federal spending that’s already taken place. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the Treasury can prevent a debt default only through early March, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress Tuesday to “act as soon as possible.”
  • Defense spending would increase by $80 billion over current law in this fiscal year and $85 billion in the one that begins Oct. 1. Republicans have been demanding more money for the military, and the legislation would help them meet those goals.
  • Non-defense spending would rise by $63 billion this year and $68 billion next year. This allows Democrats the ability to claim victory, saying they’ve secured money for infrastructure, opioid abuse treatment, college affordability and research at the the National Institutes of Health.
  • Provides disaster assistance for hurricanes and wildfires. Second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas said the disaster relief package will be between $80 billion and $90 billion. Lawmakers from states hit by disasters in recent months have been demanding more funding. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said the deal will provide the island $2 billion to rebuild its hurricane-damaged electricity system, part of a $6.8 billion package for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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