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Congress avoids shutdown and passes spending bill

Cara J

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Averting another government shutdown, Congress passed a $333 billion appropriations and border security package containing language to fund federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year. The bill provides funding for agencies, such as the Interior Department, included in seven appropriations bills. Other agencies had been previously funded. The funding levels agreed upon by Congress are generally an increase over what the president requested for fiscal year 2019, which outlined major cuts for most agencies and programs. It also provides a 1.9 percent pay increase for all federal employees. In the spending package, Interior will receive $13 billion for FY 2019, an overall $95 million decrease from last year, although some agencies within the department will see an increase. It was appropriated $14 million to proceed with a reorganization effort started by former Secretary Ryan Zinke. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $1.58 billion, a decrease of $17 million from FY 2018. The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program is funded at $64.5 million, up slightly from $63.6 million last year. The bill also appropriates $42 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and $3.9 million for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Act. Funding for the Bureau of Land Management increased [...]

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