WASHINGTON – After a brief hours-long government shutdown in the middle of the night, the House and Senate both voted to pass a budget deal that sets military and nonmilitary spending levels for 2018 and 2019.
The deal sets 2018 spending levels at $700 billion for the military – including an $80 billion budget increase, as well as $71 billion in war and emergency funding, an increase over recent years.
Defense Secretary James Mattis pledged to CBN News and other Pentagon reporters late Thursday night that "we will spend the money wisely."
"Our military has been operating under debilitating continuing resolutions for more than 1,000 days during the last decade," Mattis said.
He added that in an increasingly dangerous world, failure to implement or fund the 2018 National Defense Strategy could leave the US with a force "that could dominate the last war, yet be irrelevant to tomorrow's security."
"The bottom line is that, thanks to President Trump, we can now have the strongest military we have ever had," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier of the proposed deal.
"This deal achieves our top priority – a much-needed increase in funding for our national defense," she added. "This deal also increases budget caps, ends the sequester and provides certainty for the next two years."
President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday morning, tweeting, "Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!"
The House and Senate passed the bill in votes after the midnight deadline, resulting in a soft overnight shutdown that allowed most government operations to continue uninterrupted.
The proposed deal also includes a hike in the debt ceiling and increases for domestic spending, which could make the package problematic for House Republicans.
"It also ensures funding for our other critical priorities, including rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, tackling the opioids epidemic, and taking care of our great veterans," Sanders noted.
Sanders said the proposal would give the military nearly $700 billion for fiscal year 2018. The $700 billion for defense was included in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last year by Congress and signed by President Trump.
The money has been held up by a series of continuing resolutions that Congress passed because of its failure to reach an agreement on the budget.