Negotiations on the nation’s defense spending bill continues.
Washington, D.C. – A GOP-White House budget deal could boost domestic spending and fix a defense bill funding issue that caused President Barack Obama to veto the bill last week.
The deal frees up millions in domestic spending for the islands and offers a way forward for the FY ’16 defense bill, key for the military build-up and added military academy slots for the NMI.
It eases automatic budget cuts or sequestration, that started in 2011, that were at the heart of a fight between Republicans and the White House that led President Obama to use his veto pen last week.
Republicans boosted Pentagon spending in the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA using a non-military contingency account but resisted domestic spending hikes. Democrats and the President objected.
Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo sided with Obama, but voted for the NDAA in negotiations with the Senate, since she lacks a floor vote. It was her only chance to back a bill that authorizes so much funding for the build-up.
The new budget deal adds $80 billion for military and domestic spending over two years, offset by savings from Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare payments to healthcare providers.
The deal follows weeks of negotiations among outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, senate leaders and the White House. It sets up a vote in the House as early as midweek.
Short-term government funding runs out on December 11 and the nation’s debt limit must be extended by November 3. The budget deal addresses both but may still face conservative and liberal opponents in both chambers.
However, passage could give Speaker Boehner, who’s stepping down Friday after repeated budget and policy fights with conservatives, a win on his way out and relieve expected incoming Speaker Paul Ryan of a debt limit and budget “headache” on the way in.