The cycle of budgetary showdowns may soon be a a thing of a the past — Senate leaders struck a long-term, bipartisan agreement on Wednesday that would lift strict budget caps on defense and domestic spending, imposed during sequestration. The budget compromise also invests additional resources to tackle the opioid crisis and closes loopholes in the law that will reduce drug prices for seniors.
Alabama’s newly elected Senator, Democrat Doug Jones called the deal “a very encouraging step forward.”
“After months of careening from one short-term budget to another, this long-term compromise reached in the Senate today is a very encouraging step forward,” Jones said in a statement. “It funds important health care priorities for Alabama, including renewed investment in our vital Community Health Centers. It also provides an additional four years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, bringing the total funding commitment to 10 years.”
Jones continued, “This bipartisan agreement also paves the way for Congress to consider long-term funding for our military, which will give our Defense Department leadership the certainty that it needs. This is a big step in the right direction. I encourage my colleagues in the House to support this robust bipartisan bill so we can get back to working on the many other important policy challenges we face.”
Earlier this week, Jones joined a bipartisan group of senators to to call on Senate leadership to extend community health center funding. On Tuesday, he met with the Alabama Primary Health Care Association to listen to their concerns about how a lapse in funding would impact the roughly 350,000 Alabamians who rely on community health centers to access care.
As a result of this deal, the Senate is also poised to reject a House Defense funding bill that does not support important Alabama projects, and will instead take steps this week toward passing an alternative bill that Jones says “better serves Alabama’s military communities and strengthens the United States military overall.”