Washington saw a flurry of bipartisan activity over the last few weeks. Most notably, Republican and Democratic negotiators reached a long-awaited deal on sequestration budget caps. The compromise, announced on February 7 as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), funds the government at current levels through March 23. The BBA also raises the spending caps for Fiscal Years (FY) 2018-2019 for both defense and nondefense spending programs. Following a brief government shutdown, Congress passed the legislation on February 9, and the President signed the bill on the same day.
The measure also included a host of other provisions that:
- provided additional relief for areas of the country hit by severe weather disasters in the latter half of 2017
- extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program through FY27
- raised the statutory limit on federal debt
- renewed expired health extenders, including ambulance add-on payments, the Medicare-dependent hospital program and the Medicare rural add-on for home health services
- renewed expired energy tax extenders, including tax credits for fuel cells, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and nuclear power
- renewed several expired tax extenders, including the Indian employment tax credit, railroad track maintenance tax credit and the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition expenses.
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