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Saturday February 17, 2018

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Bipartisan Budget Bill

With a Senate vote of 71 to 28 and a House vote of 240 to 186, a two-year budget bill for the federal government passed on Friday, February 9. The bill expands federal spending by over $300 billion during 2018 and 2019.

The compromise increases federal spending caps by $143 billion this year and $153 billion in 2019.

The Department of Defense budget is increased by $80 billion this year and $85 billion in 2019. Domestic spending expands by $63 billion this year and $68 billion in 2019.

The domestic spending increases this year are targeted in specific areas. $10 billion will be spent on roads, bridges, waterways and other infrastructure. This bill designates $3 billion to be used to reduce the number of lives lost due to the opioid epidemic.

Congress allocated $2 billion to help rebuild Veterans Administration hospitals. Another $2 billion is allocated to training programs for police officers, teachers and firefighters.

Following the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, approximately $90 billion will be allocated toward disaster relief in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

The bill also restores many energy tax credits. There is a five year tax credit renewal for fuel cells, small wind energy projects and geothermal hot pumps. Tax credits for 2017 were restored for electric vehicles, biofuel and home energy-efficiency improvements.

The debt limit is suspended until March 2019. This places the next debt limit vote after the November elections.

Published February 9, 2018
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