The House this week gave final passage to legislation that will keep the government running through Dec. 7 and provide $854 billion over the next fiscal year to the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education.
The 361-61 vote was the culmination of House and Senate negotiations on discretionary funding that will be available to some of the government’s largest agencies in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Meanwhile, work continues on reaching agreement for a handful of agencies yet to be funded — necessitating the need for a “continuing resolution” to basically flat-fund the remainder beyond the current fiscal year.
The House is not expected to be in session again until after the mid-term elections in November. They’ll have until Dec. 7 to complete the appropriations process without fear of a partial government shutdown.
The Connecticut delegation all voted in favor of the bill, which includes appropriations to the Pentagon, which Connecticut defense contractors rely upon. Electric Boat, United Technologies and Sikorsky all have substantial orders for military jet engines, helicopters and submarines.
The White House has indicated the President Donald Trump will sign the measure into law.
Aside from the military, 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.
“On the whole, this bipartisan and bicameral bill is a positive result that will help provide the American people a better chance at a better life. I am proud to support it and look forward to the President signing it into law,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.
DeLauro pointed to a $10 million increase in funding for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as a proud achievement. The network, she said, assists children recently separated from their parents at the border, as well as children affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
“It is vital that we take care of the least among us, and these funding increases will go a long way towards that goal,” she said.
Representative John Larson also praised passage of the bill saying it would “continue to fuel Connecticut’s thriving defense manufacturing base.”
Larson noted that more than 4,600 jobs in his district are supported by work on the F-35 fighter. Pratt & Whitney is the engine maker for the aircraft. He also pointed to additional funding in the bill for social service programs including Meals on Wheels, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, Head Start and community health centers.