Director of Advocacy and Outreach
Only six months into the current fiscal year, Congress finally reached agreement and released the details of its Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund government through the end of year. The final agreement contains earmarks, $730 billion (an almost 7% increase over current funding levels) for domestic spending and $782 billion (about a 6% increase over current spending) for defense. It also includes nearly $14 billion for Ukraine (including $3 billion for US forces, $3.5 billion to replace military equipment and training provided to Ukraine and $4 billion for US humanitarian efforts). Details on defense spending are found in Division C of the bill. In the coming days, AOC will make more information available on our website.
A few items of interest highlighted in the bill include $100 million to establish the Agile Procurement Transition Pilot to aid the warfighter to transition technologies from pilot programs, prototype projects and research projects to scale to capability, software or service acquisition. Also, the bill directs the Secretary of the Army to provide a report to Congress to provide guidance on how either enduring or future Multi-Domain Operations capabilities can be incorporated into the Army National Guard. Finally, there are reporting requirements on middle-tier acquisition and rapid prototyping programs pursuant to the FY 2021 Department of Defense Appropriation Act.
It is not guaranteed Congress can get the omnibus passed by Friday, March 11 due to procedural hurdles, so they have readied a four-day spending patch to push the deadline to next Tuesday, March 15. There are still some questions about how Senate Republicans will vote on the measure. In a chamber that is split 50-50, every vote is critical to passage. The House, however, plans to pass both measures this week before wrapping up legislative business. The Ukraine spending is expected to make securing votes easier on both the left and right, as will earmarks.
In addition to funding the government, the bill also includes the Violence Against Women Act, which lapsed in early 2019. The law provides resources for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It also includes $16B for ongoing work to combat COVID.