The House overwhelmingly passed a $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill on Wednesday with a vote of 359-67. The massive bill essentially combines 12 government appropriations bills into one piece of legislation. The measure now goes to the Senate, which approved a three-day continuing resolution on Wednesday with a roll call of 86-14 allowing the government to continue operating without disruption as it picks up the legislation. With the stop-gap measure in place and the House vote complete, the Senate now has until Saturday to approve the measure. The omnibus includes $486.6 billion in base appropriations, and $85.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, which, according to a Senate Appropriations Committee statement and summary, meets the funding caps established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. Specifically the new topline includes $11 billion more in operations and maintenance funding than would be allotted under a full continuing resolution and helps shore up readiness accounts identified by the service chiefs. A total of $221.3 billion in base and OCO operations and maintenance funds are in the bill—a reduction of less than three percent from the President’s budget request (appropriators note a full sequester would have reduced the amounts by at least 11 percent). To offset the costs, the omnibus also cuts or eliminates funding for delayed and terminated programs that would have remained under a full CR, such as the C-27 Spartan and USAF’s Space Fence radar system.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.