Friday night, President Donald Trump signed a bill a $1.4 trillion spending package that funds the military and domestic programs, building portions of the border wall and government agencies, including a government commission that monitors religious freedom worldwide.
The new spending bill, HR 1685, re-authorizes funding the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
The USCIRF reports to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress, making recommendations for government actions to promote religious liberty abroad.
The additional funding from HR 1865 will allow USCIRF to continue tracking religious abuse and raise awareness of the issue through foreign policies and sanctions.
In a recent interview, USCIRF Chair, Tony Perkins told CBN News' Faith Nation that the bill, "Will allow the commission to go forward and continue to do its vital work in promoting religious freedom internationally."
Perkins tweeted that he was grateful for the support from Congress and those who are committed to securing a future for USCIRF.
"We're grateful for the strong bipartisan support USCIRF received from Congress...for a bill that enhances USCIRF's credibility and ensures the continuance of our important work."
"We’re grateful for the strong bipartisan support USCIRF received from Congress... for bill that enhances USCIRF’s credibility and ensures the continuance of our important work.” - Chair @tperkins https://t.co/WlyEntZdCE
— USCIRF (@USCIRF) December 19, 2019
"We'd also like to thank the NGO community and the International Religious Freedom Roundtable participants for supporting our reauthorization," USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin said in a press release. "Together, we will continue to raise awareness of the violators and victims of systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations around the globe and pressing for effective U.S. government action."
The bill also gives military members a 3.1% pay raise, the largest such increase in a decade. This includes a historic $738 billion in funding for defense - a $22 billion increase over last year.
Last night I was so proud to have signed the largest Defense Bill ever. The very vital Space Force was created. New planes, ships, missiles, rockets and equipment of every kind, and all made right here in the USA. Additionally, we got Border Wall (being built) funding. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2019
Funding will secure additional immigration judges and alleviate the delay of more than one million immigration cases.
The bill also funds the establishment of the Space Force, the first new branch of the Armed Forces to be established since 1947.
President Trump secured full funding to continue the fight against the opioid epidemic through legislation providing $1.7 billion for mental health programs in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
According to ABC News, the bill will add nearly $400 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.