Congress passed another extension of a stop-gap Continuing Resolution (CR) budget on 21 December to keep the federal government funded through 19 January, but included a big addition for missile defence activities.
US President Donald Trump on 22 December was expected to enact a third CR budget to continue funding the government in fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) at FY 2017’s levels. The previous two-week budget was enacted on 8 December.
Lawmakers have had nine months to consider the FY 2018 budget – the White House’s topline request was released in March and its detailed proposal in May – but made little progress as they focused instead on a failed effort to repeal the former Obama administration’s healthcare law and a successful effort to overhaul US tax codes.
Interestingly, the legislation included a measure that appropriates much of a supplemental funding package requested by the Pentagon in November. A source told Jane's the Pentagon submitted this request at Congress' behest, with lawmakers signalling strong support for accelerating missile defence programmes to help address North Korea's growing missile capabilities.
The appropriation included USD674 million to repair the USS John S McCain (DDG 56) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) guided-missile destroyers that collided with merchant ships in the Pacific. Both ships are equipped with Aegis missile defence systems.
Congress also allotted operations and maintenance funding worth USD18.8 million for the US Air Force (USAF) and another USD23.7 million department-wide specifically "to detect, defeat, and defend against the use of ballistic missiles".
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