U.S. Rep. John Katko joined most Republicans and some Democrats to support a multi-year budget agreement that was approved by Congress early Friday.
After a delay due to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's objections to the bill in the Senate, the bill finally advanced through Congress. The Senate passed the bill by a 71-28 vote. The House of Representatives followed with a 240-186 vote.
Katko, R-Camillus, explained why he supported the budget agreement in a lengthy statement Friday. One of the main reasons is the increased defense spending in the bill, which lifts caps that were in place on military funding.
"With ongoing threats from North Korea and throughout the world, our military must be strengthened," Katko said. "This measure will ensure that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedom and our democracy have the resources that they need."
Another provision in the bill highlighted by Katko is the funding increase to combat the opioid epidemic. The budget deal contains $6 billion more to support prevention, treatment and recovery services.
There are other aspects of the measure that Katko likes. It would boost funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health and extends the Child Health Insurance Program for 10 years.
Community health centers will get more than $7 billion over the next two years. Cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, which could hurt many New York health facilities, have been delayed.
The budget bill also includes reforms to the Margin Protection Program for dairy farmers. With milk prices falling, dairy farmers have been a difficult financial position because the existing insurance program provides little support for them.
After Congress passed the budget deal, President Donald Trump signed the legislation Friday morning. That ended a brief government shutdown which began at midnight due to the delayed action on the spending plan.
"No budget agreement is perfect," Katko said. "But I believe that this measure provides long-term certainty and gets us away from short-term measures that only take us from crisis to crisis."