Bipartisan spending deal cuts funding for Space Force by $32 million

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The agreement provides $40 million in operations and maintenance funds for the U.S. Space Force, a steep cut from the $72.4 million that the Trump administration requested.

WASHINGTON — House and Senate appropriators on Dec. 16 unveiled the details of a bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending deal to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2020.

The agreement provides $40 million in operations and maintenance funds for the U.S. Space Force, a steep cut from the $72.4 million that the Trump administration requested.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 — that the House passed last week and the Senate is expected to pass this week — authorizes the establishment of the U.S. Space Force and supports the administration’s $72.4 million funding request. The appropriators have the final word on funding, however, so it appears that the new branch will get $40 million.

Appropriators also reduced the administration’s funding request for the Space Development Agency. For SDA operations and maintenance, the spending agreement provides $30.5 million, or $14.2 million less than requested. It fully funds the SDA’s $20 million request for research and development, and approves $75 million for technology prototyping,  $10 million less than requested.

The leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees released the text of two legislative packages that together comprise all 12 fiscal year 2020 funding bills. The so-called “minibuses” are expected to be considered in the House on Tuesday.

The Senate also is expected to vote on the packages this week, prior to the Dec. 20 deadline when the current stopgap funding measure expires.

The national security minibus includes conference agreements for four appropriations bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services and General Government, and Homeland Security.

The other minibus covers domestic priorities and international assistance, and includes eight appropriations bills: Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Agriculture, Energy and Water Development, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.