Hoouse backs $1.2 trillion bill with fewer budget cuts
Military spending up; grants and research included.
— The Republican-led House on Thursday passed a sweeping $1.2 trillion spending bill that pro
vides billions more dollars for the military while spar
ing medical research and popular community development programs from deep cuts sought by President Donald Trump.
The vote was 211-198 for the massive measure that wrapped t he 12 annual spending bills into one in advance of the end of the budget year on Sept. 30.
Even though the Senate still must act, the government will keep operating through Dec. 8, thanks to a debt ceil- ing increase Congress passed last week and sent to Trump.
House members spent the past two weeks debating the spending measure’s $500 billion for domestic agencies. GOP leaders then merged that spending pack- age with an earlier House measure that would give record budget increases to the Pentagon and provide a $1.6 billion down payment for Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It does everything from strengthening our national defense and veterans’ programs to cracking down on illegal immigration to protecting life to cutting abu- sive Washington agencies like
the IRS and the EPA,” said the No. 2 House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Cal- ifornia. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the bill’s pay raise for the military, border security funding, and defunding Planned Parenthood as victories for Repub- licans and Trump.
Trump, following the lead of budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former tea party congressman, had pushed for a sweeping increase for the Pentagon balanced by cuts of more than $50 bil- lion from domestic agen- cies and foreign aid.
House Republic a ns responded by adding even more spending on defense, but they significantly scaled back Trump’s proposed cuts to programs like commu-
nity development grants and research into rare diseases.
Trump has kept a low profile on budget issues other than the wall, and his admin- istration has done little to fight for his spending cuts since they were unveiled.
The House measure adds almost $9 billion to Trump’s funding request for medical research at the National Institutes of Health. It keeps a $269 million subsidy for money-losing flights to rural airports, which Trump had targeted. And it gives modest increases to GOP favorites such as law enforcement agencies and NASA.
But not all non-military programs escaped the knife. House Republicans voted to slash spending for studies on climate change, eliminate
Title X family planning funds and sharply cut foreign aid accounts, though not as dras- tically as Trump proposed. A transportation grant program started by former Pres- ident Barack Obama would be eliminated, as would hir- ing grants for local police departments.
The limits imposed by a prior budget agree- ment threaten the measure’s sweeping Pentagon increases, which total about $60 billion above current levels and almost $30 billion higher than Trump’s budget. That would evaporate next year unless there’s a bipartisan agreement to raise them.
‘It does everything from strengthening our national defense … to protecting life.’ Rep. Kevin McCarthy No. 2 House Republican
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks after the passage Thursday of a $1.2 trillion spending bill to fund the government at the Capitol in Washington with (from left) Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa.; Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.; Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas; Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.; and Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga.