Highlights of year-end Capitol Hill legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – Washington negotiations on a $1.4 trillion government-wide funding bill produced a bipartisan agreement that's also serving as a must-pass legislative vehicle for lots of other unfinished congressional business. The spending bill — split into two measures for political and tactical reasons — caps a months-long budget battle and would prevent a government shutdown this weekend.
SPENDING TOP LINE
— $746 billion for defense accounts, including $631 billion in core Pentagon funding, $80 billion for overseas military operations, and $36 billion for military bases and Energy Department nuclear activities.
— $655 billion for domestic Cabinet department and foreign aid accounts.
— $425 million for grants to states to protect election systems from cyberattacks and improve technology.
— $42 billion for medical reseacrh at the National Institutes of Health, a 7 percent increase of $2.6 billion.
— $30 billion in federal aid for special education and grants to school districts serving disadvantaged neighborhoods, a $960 million increase.
— $7.7 billion for Army Corps of Engineers water projects.
— $81 billion for Veterans Administration medical care, including $8.9 billion to fund care in private networks under a new VA Mission Act that was passed after recent VA care scandals.
— $55 billion for foreign aid and State Department operations.
— $147 billion to pay the military.
— $146 billion to procure new Pentagon weapons systems, including $1.9 billion for 98 new F-35 fighters, 20 more than requested, and $24 billion for 14 new battle force ships.
— $22.6 billion for NASA, a $1.1 billion increase.
— A repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost “Cadillac" health plans, medical devices and health insurance plans.
— Raising the age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.
— Funding to pay full health and retirement benefits to about 100,000 retired union coal miners whose benefits would otherwise be at risk because of coal industry bankruptcies.
— A seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance purchases from U.S. manufacturers.
— A seven-year reauthorization of a government backstop for terrorism risk insurance on major construction projects.
— A renewal of a raft of tax breaks, most of them narrowly targeted. They include a deduction for mortgage insurance premium, college tuition and large medical bills, and several provisions boosting renewable energy sources, including a biodiesel tax credit eagerly sought by soybean growers.
— A two-year extension of federal financial help for schools in rural counties.
— An extension of increased Medicaid funding for hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
— An extension through Sept. 30 of the federal flood insurance program.
— A renewal of visa programs for foreign seasonal and skilled workers.
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