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February 18, 2019

Shutdown averted: Trump signs spending bill with funds for FDA, IHS

Daily Briefing

    President Trump on Friday signed into law a federal spending bill (H.J.Res. 31) that staved off another partial government shutdown and funds FDA, the Indian Health Service (IHS), and other federal health care initiatives for the remainder of the fiscal year.

    The House voted 300-128 to approve the bill, after the Senate voted 86-13 to pass the measure.

    Law details

    The bill included funding for several federal departments through Sept. 30, which is the end of fiscal year (FY) 2019. The bill included:

    • $5.8 billion in funding for IHS, up by $266 million from the funding level enacted in FY 2018;
    • $5.7 billion in funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, up by $50 million from the funding level enacted in FY 2018;
    • $3.1 billion in funding for global health programs, including $575 million for family planning programs and $302 million for programs to combat tuberculosis; and
    • $3.08 billion in discretionary funding for FDA, up by $269 million from the funding level enacted in FY 2018, bringing total FY 2019 funding to $5.67 billion.

    Trump declares national emergency to build US-Mexico border wall

    The bill included about $1.4 billion for new fencing to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border, which was significantly less than the $5.7 billion Trump had requested.

    In a controversial bid to secure further funding for border fencing, Trump on Friday declared a national emergency that could make available up to $8.1 billion in additional funds, CQ News reports.

    According to Vox, some of that funding will come from Department of Defense and Department of the Treasury programs aimed at combatting illicit drugs. But Vox reports that there are legal questions about whether Trump can use money specified for other programs to build border fencing. Trump said he expects his move to be challenged in court and end up before the Supreme Court, which he expects will rule in his favor, Fortune reports.

    While Trump has said the proposed border fencing is key to reducing the amount of drugs that enter the United States illegally, some experts say it will do little to reduce substance use disorders and drug-related overdoses, Vox reports. Instead, they argued the federal government should allocate more funding for substance use disorder treatment services (Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, 2/14; Sink/Talev, Bloomberg/Fortune, 2/15; Bennett/Lerman, CQ News, 2/15 [subscription required]; Lopez, Vox, 2/15).

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