Budget Brief 18-04
February 12, 2018

In the early hours of February 9, Congress passed a fifth continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which the president signed. This CR—the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 (P.L. 115-123)—extends funding for six weeks, through March 23. Running more than 600 pages, it incorporates a plethora of policy changes, many of which are important for states. This brief summarizes these provisions, including:

  • Increasing the discretionary spending caps
  • Extending mandatory sequestration
  • Providing additional disaster assistance
  • Suspending the debt limit
  • Creating a committee on budget process reform
  • Extending, implementing, or reauthorizing certain health and human services programs
  • Incorporating a host of tax extenders and modifications
  • Offsetting a portion of the new spending provided in the bill with cuts and changes to other programs

While not part of the legislative language, an informal agreement was reached as part of the BBA negotiations, under which increased funding for non-defense discretionary programs would be targeted to specific priorities in FY 2018 and FY 2019, including:

  • Opioids and mental health ($3 billion/year)
  • Infrastructure ($10 billion/year)
  • Child care ($2.9 billion/year)
  • Veterans’ health ($2 billion/year)
  • Higher education ($2 billion/year)
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH, $1 billion/year)