What exactly did Congress pass?
Congress on Friday cleared its biggest fiscal package in nearly a decade, which sets new limits on how much the government can spend in the next two years.
The deal keeps the government operating on another temporary funding patch until March 23. But Congress must still pass another bill, known as an omnibus, with detailed spending levels for each government program for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
As part of the deal, Congress finally decided exactly how much to spend on the Pentagon and other government agencies. Military spending will rise to $700 billion for fiscal 2018, roughly 10 percent above current levels. Domestic spending will also get a boost to $591 billion.
Those record increases, however, will only go into effect after Congress has drafted and passed the full-year spending bill.
What happens next?
With those top-line levels in hand, lawmakers in charge of spending on Capitol Hill are now entering a six-week scramble to figure out how to dole out all the extra cash.
The first step is divvying up that pot of funding across all corners of the federal government. (The budget deal only decided the size of the pie, not the size of the slices.)
They’ll be working with some conditions: In the deal, lawmakers were given orders to spend $3 billion to combat the opioid crisis, $2 billion on veterans, $10 billion on infrastructure, $2 billion on higher education and $2.9 billion on childcare.
But those parameters are broad, and there will be a fierce lobbying battle on Capitol Hill this month to determine exactly where that money should go.
What about the White House budget?
For six more weeks, lawmakers are still drafting spending bills for fiscal 2018.
But the Trump administration on Monday is officially moving ahead to fiscal 2019.
The White House will roll out its budget document on Monday, outlining its biggest policy priorities from border security to infrastructure investments.
That presidential wish list will then be sent to Capitol Hill, with little expectation the proposed program cuts or funding shifts will make it into an actual spending bill.
This year, Congress is even less likely to pay attention to the Trump administration’s funding request because it was written well before lawmakers sealed the latest budget deal.
The White House said Monday it would release an “addendum” to its budget because it was too late to rewrite the document reflecting Congress’ brand new spending deal — the first time in recent years that’s been required.
What about the debt limit?
The bill Congress just passed raises the government’s borrowing capacity through March 2019. That will prevent a fight over the debt limit from occurring before the midterm elections.
Powered by WPeMatico