Known as the âMake America Secure Appropriations Act,â the House package consists of four of the 12 annual government spending bills. They include such priorities as $182.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs and $13.9 billion for nuclear security. The House intends to take up the remaining eight bills in September.
The package also includes $29 million for increased security on Capitol Hill following last monthâs shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, and a handful of others. Mr. Scalise was discharged from the hospital and began rehabilitation on Tuesday.
The bulk of the funding â $658 billion â is for the Pentagon. That amount exceeds sequester caps imposed in 2011 in hopes Congress soon will agree to eliminate them. The defense funds include a 2.4 percent pay raise for the military and more than $34 billion to cover health care.
In recent weeks, a skirmish over whether the Pentagon should pay for medical treatment related to gender transition had divided Republicans and threatened to derail the package. Republicans decided not to include the amendment, and the issue was sidelined when Mr. Trump abruptly announced in a series of posts to Twitter on Wednesday that he intended to ban transgender service members entirely, citing in part the âtremendous medical costs and disruption.â
A 2016 RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon concluded that allowing transgender members of the military to serve openly would increase health care costs a mere 0.04 to 0.13 percent.
Republicans have struggled to pass substantial legislation this year, despite controlling the House, the Senate and the White House. A government shutdown would further expose Republicans as incapable of coalescing for the most basic tasks of governing.
Approving the government spending is an annual struggle, however, regardless of which party is in power….