The House on Wednesday gave final congressional approval to a fiscal 2019 spending bill covering 70 percent of the government’s discretionary operations, and President Donald Trump said he would sign it into law – temporarily avoiding a partisan fight that could lead to a government shutdown.
The sweeping spending package includes full-year funding for the Defense Department as well as health, education and labor programs. The Pentagon would receive $674 billion, an increase of nearly $20 billion over current funding. The Department of Health and Human Services would receive $90 billion, a 2 percent increase, and the Department of Labor would receive a 1 percent boost – to $12 billion. The Education Department would receive $71 billion.
Importantly, the bill also includes stopgap funding through Dec. 7 covering any separate appropriations not approved by the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year. That effectively punts any threat of a government shutdown until after the November congressional elections.
The House vote was 361-61. The Senate approved the bill last week.
While Trump said he would sign the bill into law, he has threatened to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t approve more funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has said he wants at least $5 billion in additional funding to construct the wall.
Funding for a border wall would be included in the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which Congress hasn’t yet approved.
Whether Trump will renew budget brinkmanship and risk closing the government in December is unclear. The election results could dictate Trump’s negotiating posture on funding for the border wall, which Democrats adamantly oppose. If Republicans lose their House majority, December would be the last opportunity in Trump’s first term to try to leverage GOP control of Congress to achieve his policy goals.