Vermont Business Magazine The Senate and the House early Friday morning passed a bipartisan budget agreement to keep the federal government open, strengthen the military and invest in priorities here at home. President Trump signed the bill upon receiving it Friday morning. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, played a key role in negotiating the package, which passed the Senate by a vote of 71 to 28, and the House by a vote of 240 to 186. Congressman Peter Welch voted in favor, while Senator Bernie Sanders voted against.
Leahy said: “This bipartisan deal advances our priorities by guaranteeing that we make real investments in addressing the opioid crisis, funding medical research and improving college affordability. One of my highest priorities in the bill was forging an urgently needed dairy safety net help for dairy farmers in Vermont and other states. This will mean immediate relief for struggling dairy farmers who cannot wait for the next Farm Bill for relief.
The agreement is a broad, bipartisan framework that eliminates harmful mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration, enacted in the 2011 Budget Control Act, and raises the spending caps for both defense and domestic priorities. As Vice Chairman, Leahy will now be a lead negotiator as the Appropriations Committee allocates these new spending levels to particular government agencies to take care of veterans, address the opioid crisis and invest in higher education, among many other priorities, before a March 23rd deadline, when Congress will likely vote on a full funding bill for fiscal year 2018.
Key Victories Advanced By Leahy In The Bipartisan Deal Include:
- Improvements To A Key Safety Net For Dairy Farmers
- A $90 Billion Disaster Package
- $6 Billion For Fighting Opioid And Mental Health Crises
- $4 Billion For Rebuilding Our Crumbling VA Hospitals And Clinics
- $7 Billion For Community Health Centers
- $20 Billion To Bolster Investments In U.S. Infrastructure
- $4 Billion For College Affordability
- $5.8 Billion For The Child Care Development Block Grant Program
A full summary can be found HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/budget-overview-
And Senator Leahy’s Full Statement is available HERE: https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/senate-floor-statement-of-appropriations-committee-vice-chairman-leahy-on-the-bipartisan-budget-deal
Leahy and the Appropriations Committee will spend the next six weeks negotiating a detailed funding agreement based on the outline in this agreement.
Source: WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2018) – Leahy