WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Senate agreed this week to combining two of the biggest annual spending bills for the next fiscal year — providing $855 billion for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education starting Oct. 1.
The action now shifts to the House for an up-or-down vote on the spending package, where it is expected to pass — leaving only a handful of agency budgets remaining to be approved for Fiscal 2019. The spending package also includes a “continuing resolution” that will keep the remaining agencies funded through Dec. 7, providing Congress additional time to complete its annual funding task.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy voted in favor of the spending package and issued press statements touting spending provisions that they say will benefit Connecticut.
“This is a good bill — it keeps our government funded and makes critical investments in our national security,” said Murphy, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “Once again, this shows that our country relies on Connecticut to make the machines that protect our country. We should be proud that our workers set the standard. With this, plus critical support for senior workers, mental health care, and addiction, we were able to get some really important things in here.”
“This bill to fund two-thirds of the federal government for the next fiscal year is the product of a bipartisan compromise on behalf of the American people. It funds significant and much-needed investments in our national security, including high-priority defense programs that create jobs and help drive economic growth in Connecticut,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The bill includes funding for major defense products manufactured in Connecticut including: Columbia Class and Virginia Class submarines built by Electric Boat; Pratt & Whitney engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and KC-4A Pegasus Tankers; and Sikorsky Black Hawk and King Stallion helicopters.
The legislation also includes nearly $180 billion in funding for workforce development, public health, and education programs that support Connecticut including National Institutes of Health research, Pell Grants, workforce development and training programs, maternal and child health programs, and community health centers.