On March 23, 2018, after the House of Representatives passed the FY18 Omnibus Funding Bill, the Senate approved the bill and sent it to the White House for President Trump’s signature. After first threatening to veto the bill, the President signed the bill which funds the government until September 30, 2018. We currently are six months into fiscal year 2018, which ends on September 30, 2018.
The FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bills includes $1.3 trillion in discretionary funding. Of this amount, $692 billion is available in defense spending and $591 billion is provided for non-defense programs. This total represents the highest level of funding for the federal government since 2011. This bill clearly rejects the Trump Administration’s efforts to sharply cut back the reach and scope of the federal government. Many of the Administration’s priorities were included in the bill—increases in the military, school safety, border security (even though the wall and border security were only funded at $1.6 billion—far short of the $25 billion the President Trump requested) and combating the opioid crisis.
Many programs proposed for elimination by the Trump Administration for the last two years (programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts or the Community Development Block Grant Program) were spared any reductions and in fact saw slight increases (NY Times, March 22, 2018).
On the non-defense discretionary side of the ledger, health care programs received one of the major boosts in federal spending. The bill includes a $3 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and diverts nearly $4 billion more into the opioid addiction crisis.
What was missing from this bill? Nothing for the DREAMERs –There was no fix for the young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and have been protected by Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The bill also did not defund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and sanctuary cities.
While some conservatives balked at the level of funding in the bill, most Members of Congress had plenty of good news to report to their constituents during the two-week Easter/Passover holiday recess.
The spending bill is expected to be the last major piece of legislation that Congress will pass before the mid-term elections in November. Even so, deliberations and funding priority-setting are underway for FY19. Members of Congress are taking programmatic requests from constituents, and many offices have established deadlines for submission of those requests.
Note: This story and relevant parts of the special report are reprinted with permission of the Estell Group, LLC.