Component 23 – 2
Search Newsline

On Feb. 9, shortly before the White House released its 2019 budget request, both chambers of Congress passed, and the president signed, a funding agreement that sets a budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The deal will raise federal spending caps by $300 billion in 2018 and 2019 and suspend the debt limit until 2019. 

While some Republicans expressed concerns about the increased deficit spending included in the budget deal and the need for funding offsets, most touted the agreement as a success for the U.S. military. It will provide a more than $160 billion increase in base level defense spending and an additional $140 billion in overseas contingency operations funding, which supports the U.S. military war effort and is not subject to budget caps. 

The bill included some funding offsets, but it is estimated to increase the deficit by $24.3 billion during the next five years. Both Democrats and Republicans touted increased funding for a number of critical government programs, including $84 billion for disaster relief and an additional $20 billion for transportation and infrastructure priorities.

As part of the agreement, the corresponding congressional appropriation committees will still have to take up separate bills; Congress has until March 23 to pass a spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018. 

Shortly after the president signed the bipartisan budget agreement, the Office of Management and Budget released its budget request for Fiscal Year 2019 on Feb. 12. Officially titled “An American Budget,” the president’s request shows the priorities of the administration and acts as a guide that Congress may choose to follow while creating spending bills.

According to the budget proposal, the administration’s biggest priorities include the following.

  • Infrastructure: The 2019 budget provides $21 billion next year toward an infrastructure spending plan worth $200 billion over 10 years, which the White House says will help spur $1.5 trillion in spending when combined with state, local and private funds. 
  • Border security: The $23 billion request includes $18 billion toward a wall along the Mexican border, $2.7 billion to detain up to 52,000 undocumented immigrants, and $782 million to hire 2,750 more customs and immigration agents.
  • Opioid treatment: President Trump proposes an additional $10 billion in discretionary spending for opioid treatment.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) priorities include expanding access to apprenticeships, reforming Job Corps and more than 40 other workforce development programs, expanding Association Health Plans (AHPs) and providing for up to six weeks of paid family leave for new parents.

It is important to note that the president’s budget request is not legally binding or an agreed-upon compromise with Congress, but rather acts as a theoretical marker of the administration’s priorities. More information can be found on the White House website.