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On 23 March, President Trump
signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 1625). Earlier that day, the U.S. Senate had passed H.R. 1625 by a vote
of 65 to 32. The House of
Representatives passed H.R. 1625 on 22 March by a vote of 256 to 167. Large blocks of members of both parties voted
against the measure for different reasons. H.R. 1625 funds the federal government through the end of FY2018.
The enactment of H.R. 1625 ends
almost six months of intermittent negotiations beyond the 1 October 2017, start
of Fiscal Year 2018. During that period,
the Congress passed several short-term continuing resolutions to keep the
federal government operating with one instance of a partial government shutdown
for approximately eight hours. The
Congress has used the various FY2018 funding mechanisms to pass additional
policies and H.R. 1625 was no exception.
In addition to providing funding
for federal agencies, H.R. 1625 included several other high-profile priorities
of the Congress and the Administration. The bill provides approximately $4 billion in funding to address the
opioid crisis, $2.3 billion in funding toward school safety and $1.6 billion
toward border security. The $1.3
trillion package also includes additional funding for the IRS to implement the
tax reform package signed by the President late last year. The package did not include an agreement on
Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which congressional Democrats had
sought. This is why a large number of House Democrats and some Senate Democrats
opposed all funding vehicles including the Omnibus.
The overall funding levels of H.R.
1625 adhere to the agreement reached between congressional Republicans and
Democrats in February for budgets for FY2018 and FY2019. While Congress has now provided funding
through the end of FY2018, it now must address funding for FY2019 by 1 October.
A partial federal government shutdown impacts workforce mobility
in several areas. Social Security
Administration field offices would not be able to process Social Security
number applications, IRS employees would not be able to verify for lenders the
income of burrowers and the processing of visas, and green cards would be