Congress Rushes to Pass Government Funding Package | Citizens Against Government Waste

Congress Rushes to Pass Government Funding Package

The WasteWatcher

The $333 billion spending package that Congress has cobbled together to avoid the threat of a partial government shutdown contains lots of giveaways that go beyond keeping the government’s lights on.

The legislation cancels a plan previously approved by President Trump – during the partial government shutdown – that would have blocked a scheduled pay raise for federal civilian employees. Under the new deal, members of the military will get a 2.6 percent pay increase while the federal civil workforce will get an increase of 1.9 percent.

Section 423 of the Transportation and Housing Division of the bill amends Section 31112(c) of title 49, United States Code, which details “Property-carrying” limitations. This will exempt sugar beet trucks in rural Oregon from length limits. The same section would also add exemptions to federal truck weight rules in the state of Kentucky.

The bill will provide $49.4 billion for the Department of Homeland Security for FY2019, an increase of $1.7 billion above 2018 levels. It grows government by funding a new $435 million office within the Homeland Security Department to counter weapons of mass destruction. The legislation also clarifies that Members of Congress cannot be barred from accessing any federally funded facility housing migrant children.

Overall, the measure provides more than $22 billion in new border security funding, which includes $615 million for equipment needed to increase security at ports of entry and funding for hiring 600 new customs officers.

The bill includes an additional $550 million for rural broadband service—which comes right on the heels of the $600 million Congress allocated for rural broadband just two months ago when it passed the Farm Bill in December.

$17 billion will be provided for new infrastructure funding. This is an increase of $1.2 billion from last year. Of that money, $725 million is allocated for new bridges and highways, $150 million for bus and rail improvements, and $60k for the Transportation Secretary to pay for fancy receptions and parties.  

$9.3 billion has been allocated for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. $3 billion for forest fire related activities.

The legislation also gives $468 million to combat the opioid epidemic in addition to the $500 million a year already made available through last year’s Support for Patients and Communities Act.

This massive bill also provides money to foreign countries. It gives Israel its annual $3.3 billion military aid package while also providing $6 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.