Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks on the Senate floor Feb. 8, 2018. Screenshot photo from Senate video.
President Trump early Friday morning signed the fifth continuing resolution this fiscal year, reopening the government on Friday after a brief shutdown.
The continuing resolution, which now funds the government through March 23, passed the House around 5:30 a.m. on Friday with a 240 to 186 vote, almost four hours after the Senate passed it on a 71-28 vote. It is attached to a two-year budget agreement that includes increases in defense spending for both Fiscal 2018 and 2019 and is the latest chapter in the congressional spending saga. Following a three-day shutdown last month, Congress agreed Jan. 22 to a temporary spending deal, the fourth such measure, to fund the government through midnight Friday.
The government shut down briefly Friday because the Senate vote was blocked by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who opposed the bill’s addition of an estimated $320 billion to the deficit.
Trump lauded the legislation in an early morning tweet, saying, “Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything—and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”
The deal, according to a Bloomberg summary citing a senior House staffer, increases defense spending caps from $549 billion to $629 billion in Fiscal 2018, and increases the overseas contingency operations fund, which is not subject to budget caps, by $71 billion. For Fiscal 2019, the cap on defense spending will increase from $562 billion to $647 billion, and OCO funds are set at $69 billion.
“Several months into the fiscal year, Congress has finally reached an agreement to fund the Department of Defense while finalizing full-year defense appropriations,” said AFA President Larry Spencer. “As the former Air Force budget leader, it is critical to our warfighters and to our nation that the US Air Force has stable and predictable funding to plan programs and operations. We applaud Congress’ decision to defer sequestration while providing increased funding for the next two years.”