Senate leadership is working on an agreement for a bipartisan, two-year budget deal that lifts sequestration caps and funds domestic programs, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced on the Senate floor Feb. 7, 2018.
The bill unwinds sequestration caps on both the military and “urgent domestic priorities,” lifting funding for domestic programs by $131 billion.
In addition to lifted caps, the bill includes authorization for $57 billion in additional funding for crucial programs, including:
- $6 billion for opioid abuse research grants, prevention programs and law enforcement;
- $5.8 billion in childcare development block grants;
- $4 billion for veterans’ hospitals and clinics;
- $2 billion for National Institutes of Health research;
- $20 billion to add to existing infrastructure programs; and
- $4 billion for college affordability.
The bill also includes a four-year Child Health Insurance Program extension on top of the six-year extension already passed in the last continuing resolution, health tax extenders, funding for disaster relief efforts and the creation of a special select committee to draft legislative fixes to pension issues by December 2018.
According to McConnell, the deal does not address the entirety of government spending, and the appropriations committees in the House and Senate would have six weeks to negotiate detailed appropriations and deliver full funding for fiscal year 2018.
The deal also does not include any immigration language, which proved a sticking point in budget negotiations prior to the January 2018 shutdown. However, McConnell said that the bill will have an open amendment process that will allow each party to offer alternating proposals.
This story is ongoing. Check back for updates.
Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.