Politics

The Surprising Winners of Trump's New Budget Bill

The first spending bill enacted under President Donald Trump is nearly signed, sealed, and delivered.

Congress

On Monday, both Congress and the White House threw their support behind a $1.1 trillion spending bill, which keeps the government up and running through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The House will vote on the bill Wednesday, before it heads to the Senate with a voting deadline of midnight on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Reuters that Trump will sign the bill when he receives it from Congress. Passing the budget bill was no easy task for our heavily divided government.

Although Republicans control both the House and the Senate, they do not control enough seats in the Senate to pass a spending bill without at least some support from the other side. Republicans control 52 seats, while 60 were needed to pass the spending bill that left Democrats room to negotiate in order to avoid a total government shut down.

"We thought we had the upper hand because a government shutdown would be on their shoulders, and we made that clear," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), told the Associated Press. "We knew that if we didn't push things too far we could get a good deal that could make us happy and that's what happened."

Many of Trump’s promises are absent from the spending bill, including the funds to build his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. But while this may be one of the most high-profile misses for Trump, here are some of the other surprising winners of the 2017 omnibus bill.

1. Women

Despite Trump and Vice President Mike Pence's vows to defund Planned Parenthood, those plans didn’t make it into the budget. The reproductive health non-profit organization will continue to receive federal funding through September.

planned parenthood

Anti-abortion groups have been assured that Planned Parenthood will eventually lose that funding — once the Trump Administration successfully repeals Obamacare. In part, that’s why these groups agreed to leave funding in the current budget bill, Politico reports.

2. Medical Marijuana Users

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin and decried its medicinal benefits saying, “medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much.”

Jeff-Sessions

But Sessions won’t be able to interfere with states policy on medical marijuana in the near future. The 2017 bill includes a policy that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. The policy has made its way into budget bills since 2014.

3. College Students

The 2017 spending bill allocates $22.5 billion for Pell Grants, need-based funding for college students. It's the same amount allocated in the 2016 spending bill, and this plan now allows students to receive Pell Grants year-round. Currently, students relying on these grants often deplete them after fall and winter semesters, which can make taking summer classes financially impossible. Supporters say allowing students to access Pell Grants year-round will promote higher graduation rates and reduce student loan debt.

students in class

Along with these aforementioned wins, the budget also allocates nearly $400 million to Puerto Rico’s flailing Medicaid system, increases funding to fight the opioid epidemic by $150 million and gives the National Institute of Health $2 billion to fund cancer research.

But while Democrats may celebrate this budget plan as a win, Trump is already preparing for his next fight. Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that rules should be changed to allow bills to pass with a 51 Senate majority — or we should be ready for a government shut down when this bill expires in September.