Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised colleagues for taking funding off auto-pilot.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised colleagues for taking funding off auto-pilot. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Clears Full-Year 2020 Spending, Sending Shutdown-Averting Bills to Senate

White House says Trump would sign the $1.4 trillion measures that would boost funding for most agencies and provide a 3.1% pay raise to civilian feds.

The House on Tuesday passed two bills that will allocate $1.4 trillion across the federal government, finally setting line-by-line spending levels for fiscal 2020 nearly three months after it began. 

The measures will provide $738 billion to the military and $632 billion to non-defense agencies, increases over fiscal 2019 of $22 billion for the Pentagon and $27 billion for non-defense. As a result, nearly every agency is in line for a significant funding boost. The Senate is expected to pass the measures before the current continuing resolution keeping agencies afloat expires on Friday evening, and the White House has indicated President Trump will sign them into law. 

“The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open,” White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said at the White House Tuesday. 

Top lawmakers reached an agreement with the Trump administration last week on the spending agreement after months of negotiations and two continuing resolutions. Appropriators unveiled the two bills—divided into national security and domestic categories—late Monday afternoon. The domestic bill passed 297-120; the national security bill, 280-138.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised his colleagues for taking agencies off of CR autopilot. 

“Ensuring the federal government makes careful use of tax dollars is an uphill battle by definition,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “So it is critical that we plan in advance and plan for the full year ahead rather than careen from one short-term stopgap to another.”

Democrats agreed to provide $1.4 billion for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, long a sticking point in the discussions and far less than the $8.6 billion Trump requested. Customs and Border Protection would receive an overall funding cut, however, and the measures would block Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement from hiring new agents. 

The measure also includes a 3.1% pay raise for civilian federal employees, which adds a 0.5% average locality pay bump on top of the 2.6% across-the-board base salary increase that Trump proposed in August. The raise brings the civilian raise in line with the pay hike military personnel will receive next year. Members of Congress would see their pay frozen for the 12th consecutive year. 

“I’m pleased that we have reached a bipartisan agreement that will keep government open, provide the certainty of full-year funding, and make strong investments in key priorities for American communities,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. “With higher spending levels in line with the bipartisan budget agreement, we are scaling up funding for priorities that will make our country safer and stronger and help hardworking families get ahead.”

Republicans highlighted their priorities of boosting military funding and securing some funding for border fencing. 

“These bills include a long list of priorities that will benefit people across the country,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. “This is what the American people deserve—for us to fulfill our primary responsibility—funding the government.”

Democrats pointed to wins in providing record funding levels for the National Institutes of Health, fighting the opioid crisis, changes to health care pricing, dramatically boosting funding for the 2020 Census, $425 million for election security grants and for the first time in 20 years providing $25 million for gun violence research.