House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement to fund the Department of Defense in 2019 through a multi-agency spending bill, while freezing spending for some other federal programs through Dec. 7, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday.
“We have reached resolution on all items and completed our work on these bills,” Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said during a bicameral conference committee meeting from Capitol Hill.
The Senate had not scheduled a vote on the unified bill at deadline Thursday for Defense Daily, nor had lawmakers released the bill’s detailed explanatory statement, which outlines funding for specific programs. The White House had not issued a statement of administration policy about the bill at deadline.
The House and Senate had about $7 billion worth of differences to reconcile, and wound up with a $675 billion bill: roughly the spending level the House proposed. The Senate, in its own defense appropriations act, had proposed some $668 billion: roughly in line with the 2019 request.
The proposed 2019 Defense Department spending is part of a multi-agency appropriations bill known as a minibus appropriations act. Congress produced three of these over the summer, including the one that includes the Defense budget. Lawmakers plan to pass all three before the end of the 2018 fiscal year on Sept. 30.
Agencies funded by bills other than those contained in the three minbusses will have their budgets frozen at 2018 levels through Dec. 7 under a continuing resolution, Frelinghuysen said Wednesday. Among the agencies facing a continuing resolution are the Department of Homeland Security, and the civilian space agencies NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.