Investing in Defense, Veterans, Disaster Relief, Combatting Opioids, Infrastructure

“We need Congress to lift the defense spending caps and support a two-year budget agreement for our military…. We expect the men and women of our military to be faithful in their service even when going in harm's way. We have a duty to remain faithful to them.”  --Secretary of Defense James Mattis, 2/7/2018

A bipartisan, bicameral agreement was reached on a long-term budget agreement that, for the first time in years, will ensure that America’s armed forces have more of the resources they need to keep America safe. 

The two-year budget agreement also makes critical investments in America’s veterans, disaster relief, infrastructure, and further combatting opioid abuse and drug addiction.

  • This agreement will unwind the sequestration cuts that have hamstrung America’s armed forces and jeopardized our national security by funding the military at this year’s National Defense Authorization Act levels. 
  • It breaks the spending “parity” demanded for years by Democrats by giving defense a larger funding increase than non-defense discretionary spending.  Compared to current law spending caps, the agreement increases defense discretionary funding by $80 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019 vs. an increase in non-defense domestic discretionary of $63 billion in FY 2018 and $68 billion in FY 2019.  
  • This agreement provides for America’s veterans by helping reduce the maintenance backlog at the Veterans Administration.
  • It also provides almost $90 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief efforts for communities crippled by hurricanes in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas.
  • This agreement includes $6 billion over two years to bolster the ongoing fight against opioid addiction and substance abuse by funding grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities across the country.
  • The agreement includes a $20 billion new investment in America’s infrastructure -- a bipartisan priority shared by the President and lawmakers in both parties.
  • The agreement lifts the debt limit through March 1, 2019. 
  • It includes structural reforms to Medicare and cuts to Obamacare, and repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) from Obamacare.
  • It includes an extension of funding for Community Health Centers.
  • This agreement includes an extension of tax relief provisions that are supported by Republicans and Democrats. 
  • It includes $2 billion in funding over two years for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • It establishes two committees to address pension and budget/appropriations reform.

Continuing Resolution & Disaster Supplemental:

The agreement includes a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government at current levels through March 23, 2018 in order for the Appropriations Committees to negotiate detailed appropriations and deliver full funding for the remainder of FY 2018, and begin the process for FY 2019.

The legislation also contains almost $90 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to help states, communities, businesses, and individuals respond and recover from recent hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters.  Within in this funding, $4.9 billion is provided to increase Medicaid caps for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for two years, along with program requirements.

Tax & Health Care Policies:

The agreement includes a one-year extension of critical tax provisions that help families, individuals and small businesses across the country.  These provisions expired at the end of 2016.

It includes an additional four years of authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The measure also includes a package of bipartisan Medicare provisions, known as Medicare extenders, and funding for community health centers.