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Jan 13, 2018


Right before Christmas, the government was temporarily funded for the fourth time this fiscal year, but this latest funding law came with a few surprises. In this episode, a feisty Jen outlines the law to expose a favor to the war industry, damage to the Affordable Care Act, a bad sign for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a giant loophole that paved the way for a new mountain of government debt, and more. You’ll also learn about an “uncontroversial” bill that reduces accountability for foreign fighters who abuse women and that showers literal gifts upon a secretive Drug War commission. But it’s not all bad news! There’s also a reason for hope.

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CD161: Veterans Choice Program

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H.R. 1370: Continuing Appropriations Act, Department of Defense Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancements Appropriations Act, CHIP and Public Health Funding Extension Act, 2018

Division A

Section 1001: Extends 2017 funding levels until January 19, 2018

Section 1002: Delays the repeal of FISA warrantless spying authorities until January 19, 2018.

Division B

Title I: Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancements

  • Appropriates over $3.8 billion for emergency ballistic missile equipment and research.

Title II: Missile Construction Enhancements

  • Appropriates $200 million, available until September 30, 2022 to construct an emergency missile field in Alaska

Title III: General Provisions

Section 2001: Clarifies that the money in this law for the Department of Defense will be in addition to the money it will be appropriated for 2018.

Section 2002: For the extra money given to the military in this law, this section creates an exception to the rule that says that no new projects can be started with it.

Section 2003: Clarifies that this money is being appropriated as an emergency requirement.

Division C: Health Provisions

Title I:: Public Health Extenders

Section 3101: Appropriates $550 million for community health centers and $65 million for the National Health Service Corps for the first half of 2018

Section 3102: Appropriates $37.5 million for a program for type I diabetes for the first half of 2018

Section 3103:: Cuts [the authorization for the Prevention and Public Health Fund]( - 2019: Authorization decreases from $900 million to $800 million (was originally supposed to be $2 billion annually) - 2020 & 2021: Authorization decreases from $1 billion to $800 million - 2022: Authorization decreases from $1.5 billion to $1.25 billion.

Title II: Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Section 3201: Appropriates $2.85 billion for the Children's Health Insurance Program through March 31, 2018, which is a cut from previous appropriations.

Division D: VA Choice

Section 4001: Appropriates an additional $2.1 billion for the Veteran's Choice Program.

Division E: Budgetary Effects

Section 5001: The budgetary effects of the money for CHIP and VA Choice on the PAYGO scorecard will not be counted.

Section 5002: The effects of the tax bill (the "Reconciliation Act" authorized by H. Con. Res. 71) will not be considered in the PAYGO budget.

S.371: Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017, Improvements Act


Section 2: Orders a bunch of foreign policy related reports to be given to the Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate.

Section 3: Changes the original law signed in December 2016 to remove the requirement for "swift and effective disciplinary action against" police or troops of UN countries who sexually exploit or abuse people during their peacekeeping missions. In it's place, the requirement will be that the countries will have to "appropriately hold accountable" their personnel, which is left undefined.

Section 10: Allows members of the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission to "solicit, accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of money, services, or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of carrying out any duty, power, or authority of the Commission."

Additional Reading


Visual References

  • Boeing Co Stock Summary

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Sound Clip Sources

Hearing: U.S. Defense Strategy in South Asia; House Committee on Armed Services; October 3, 2017

C-Span Video

Witnesses: - Joseph F. Dunford Jr. - James N. Mattis

  • 57:25 James Mattis: I think the most important thing is that we get budget predictability and certainty, because without that, we cannot take the—adjust our forces and get predictability into our budgets that permits us to gain the best bang for the buck, to put it bluntly. We’re going into the ninth year with a continuing resolution. As you know, I cannot make new starts under that, even if the cyber domain or the space domain require that we do new things we’ve not had to do before to maintain our competitive edge.

Cover Art

Design by Only Child Imaginations

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Music Presented in This Episode