Spending deal reopens government, promises disaster relief

Many areas of the country were ravaged by unusually fierce, and increasingly frequent hurricanes and wildfires in the last year.

Congress has passed a new two-year spending deal, offering $90 billion in disaster aid that will benefit natural resource agencies.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received $210.6 million in the bill. The National Park Service received $207.6 million to rebuild and repair facilities and infrastructure that were damaged by recent natural disasters. The U.S. Forest Service received $119.7 million for damage assessments, habitat and water restoration and agency repairs associated with both wildfire and hurricane damage. However, the deal does not include funding to prevent or combat wildfires in the future.

The deal will keep the federal government funded until March 23, which should be enough time to allow Congress to draft appropriations bills for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year. During that time, they will also be considering President Trump’s budget proposals for fiscal year 2019, which were released on Feb. 12.

Congress passed the continuing resolution in the early hours on Feb. 9, ending a three-day partial shutdown in January that expired at midnight.

The agreement passed 71-28 in the Senate and 240-186 in the House. The bill suspends the federal debt limit until March 2019 and allows $300 billion in additional funds over the next two years.

You can read more about the spending bill at npr.org.