WH: Spending Deal Achieves ‘Our Top Priority’ of ‘Much-Needed’ National Defense Funding Increase

Melanie Arter | February 7, 2018 | 5:04pm EST
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Screenshot of White House video)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House on Wednesday said it was pleased that Congress is able to meet the Trump administration’s defense spending requirement and agree to a two-year spending deal.

“We are pleased that Congress has been able to meet our defense spending requirement and come together on a two-year spending bill. This deal achieves our top priority: a much-needed increase in funding for our national defense. This deal also increases budget caps, ends the sequester, and provides certainty for the next two years,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

“Defense spending will match the request made by the Pentagon and will reflect what the president signed into law with the National Defense Authorization Act. The bottom line is that, thanks to President Trump, we can now have the strongest military we have ever had,” Sanders said at the White House briefing.

“Additionally, this deal increases the debt ceiling to March of 2019, which moves us away from crisis-to-crisis budgeting. It also ensures funding for our other critical priorities, including rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, tackling the opioids epidemic, and taking care of our great veterans,” she added.

Senate leaders announced a budget deal Wednesday that would include an $80 billion increase in defense spending in 2018 and an $85 billion increase in 2019. It provides $700 billion in defense spending overall for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019, The Hill reported.

It also provides a $131 billion increase in non-defense programs including $57 billion worth of new funding over the next two years above the cap established by the 2011 Budget Control Act. The bill sets a nondefense funding cap for 2017 at $117 billion higher than what the president requested in his 2018 budget request.

The spending deal also includes a $7 billion two-year reauthorization for community health centers and $6 billion for the fight against opioid addiction. It provides $80 to 90 billion for disaster relief for areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

The deal includes $4 billion for rebuilding veterans hospitals and clinics, $2 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH) research and $20 billion for infrastructure programs. It also extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for four years in addition to the six-year extension approved by Congress last month.

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