The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which stretches more than 600 pages, was released late Wednesday night, revealing provisions large and small that would go far beyond the basic budget numbers. The accord would raise strict spending caps on domestic and military spending in this fiscal year and the next one by about $300 billion in total. It would also lift the federal debt limit until March 2019. This deal was passed in the House early Friday morning.
According to the New York Times, the Senate finally passed the measure, 71 to 28, shortly before 2 a.m. The House followed suit around 5:30 a.m., voting 240 to 186 for the bill. The House passed spending deal very quickly reversed a government shutdown that was triggered at midnight, and the bill included many of the Democrats’ top health care priorities, although they had to compromise in some places as well. In the end Seventy-three House Democrats voted for the bill, while 119 voted against it. Among Republicans, 167 supported it and 67 voted no.
As the Washington Post points out, the bill’s impact ranges far beyond the military — renewing several large health-care programs, suspending the national debt limit for a year and extending billions of dollars of expiring tax breaks. The cost of those provisions exceeds $560 billion, though lawmakers included some revenue-raising offsets. And according to another New York Times article, among the more significant provisions is a provision that would eliminate a 15-member panel, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to control the rising costs of Medicare. Under the ACA, the IPAB is responsible for submitting recommendations to Congress to slow the growth of national health care expenditures through the use of a spending target system and fast track legislative approval process. And finally according to Politico, in addition to tens of billions of dollars in new funding for both the Pentagon and domestic programs, the budget package will keep federal agencies open until March 23. This will give time for the House and Senate Appropriations panels to craft a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund federal agencies until Sept. 30.