WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders on Thursday agreed to fund the federal government until Dec. 22 while parties continue to hash out major disagreements over spending priorities.
A stopgap measure means the Defense Department has to continue to operate at the 2017 base budget level of $523.2 billion, far less than the $574.5 billion requested by the Trump administration for the 2018 budget year that began Oct. 1.
The temporary funding also means the Pentagon cannot start new procurements or technology development programs. Further complicating the negotiations is that for the Pentagon to get the $574.5 billion requested for 2018, Congress would have to lift spending caps set by the Budget Control. For defense, the cap is $549 billion.
Pentagon comptroller David Norquist told reporters Thursday that these short-term funding measures are “band-aid steps” that disrupt military plans to buy equipment it needs to modernize. “One of the challenges under a continuing resolution is that we’re still well below the required number in the president’s budget.”
All this is bad news for the Air Force’s 2018 space investment budget. Service officials have touted the $7.75 billion request — about 20 percent more than the Air Force spent in fiscal year 2017 ...