From Sen. Tim Kaine’s office, which touts the Senate budget deal’s “Big Virginia Wins” and which argues that the deal “is good for the country and good for Virginia.” Personally, I agree there were some significant wins in here, as well as some stuff (e.g, massive increases in military spending; I’m not against any increase, but I thought this was excessive) I don’t particularly like. Now, on to dealing with immigration, and particularly the DREAMers! – Lowell
Here are some key pieces of the deal:
- Fully undoes sequestration that has been painful to Virginia’s military community
- Provides additional funding for both military and domestic programs
- Military – Increases military spending by $80 billion in FY2018 and $85 billion in FY2019 to boost national security and support our servicemembers
- Domestic – Increases domestic spending by $63 billion in FY2018 and $68 billion in FY2019 to increase funding for education, health programs, and non-defense national security initiatives.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – Funds CHIP for an additional 4 years, totaling 10 years of funding for a program that more than 66,000 children in Virginia rely on for care;
- Community Health Centers – Includes a 2-year extension of federally qualified community health centers. Approximately 300,000 Virginians receive health care at more than 100 community health center locations in underserved communities across Virginia.
In addition, negotiators agreed to fund the following programs critical to Virginia:
- Veterans – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 to reduce the VA health care maintenance backlog
- Child Care – $2.9 billion for FY 18 and $2.9 billion for FY 19 for child care, including for the Child Care Development Block Grant program;
- Higher Education – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 for programs that aid college completion and affordability, including those that help police officers, teachers, and firefighters;
- Drug Addiction and Mental Health – $3 billion for FY18 and $3 billion for FY19 to combat the substance abuse epidemic;
- Infrastructure: Transportation, Clean Water and Broadband – $10 billion for FY 18 and $10 billion for FY 19 to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, roads, rail and bridges
Sen. Tim Kaine statement: “The bipartisan deal is good for the country and good for Virginia. This long-term budget fully funds our military and makes big investments in transportation, drug addiction treatment, disaster relief, resources for rural communities, and veterans’ care. And it lifts the budget caps for two years and sidelines the threat of sequestration that has hurt our national defense and the Hampton Roads region. I am proud to have worked with a bipartisan group of my colleagues last month on negotiations to reopen the government that led us toward this deal, but our work isn’t done. We now must build on this bipartisan progress and immediately proceed to debate and pass legislation that permanently protects Dreamers.”