House, Senate pass CR with emergency funding for missile defense, Navy ship repair

By Justin Doubleday / December 21, 2017 at 6:58 PM

The House and Senate today voted to extend a continuing resolution funding the government through Jan. 19, with the latest stopgap spending measure including emergency funds for missile defense and Navy ship repair.

The CR passed the House by a 231-188 vote and the Senate by a 66-32 vote. The bill would prevent a government shutdown at midnight on Friday.

The stopgap measure includes $4 billion in emergency funding for missile defense programs aimed at countering North Korea, as well as a new Ground-based Interceptor field in Alaska. Additionally, it includes $700 million to finance the repair of two Navy guided missile destroyers damaged in collisions this past year. The Trump administration sent Congress the emergency funding request in early November.

An initial CR proposal introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) last week would have provided full funding for defense in fiscal year 2018, but deferred funding for the rest of government until Jan. 19. The proposal was re-worked, however, after it drew opposition in the Senate.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) blasted his colleagues for approving the extension, calling it "unacceptable" and a "dereliction of the first and foremost duty of Congress to provide for the common defense."

"I am profoundly disappointed that leadership in Congress and the White House failed to reach agreement on a budget deal," he said in a statement following the Senate vote. "As we wait another four weeks in hopes that congressional leaders negotiate a compromise, the military will work overtime to keep an already dire situation from getting worse. Readiness will continue to decline. Service members will not receive scheduled training. Ship maintenance backlogs will grow. All of this in the face of a world that only gets more dangerous and where threats continue to rise. As competitors like China, Russia, and North Korea continue to rapidly advance their military and modernize their weapons, the U.S. military will wait."

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan told reporters today that the Defense Department plans to release its FY-19 budget on time in early February, regardless of when Congress passes an FY-18 defense appropriations bill.

"That's the plan," Shanahan said. "We're hoping that the '18 budget comes out before the '19 budget but we'll see how that plays out."