WASHINGTON, DC - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Chochran, R-Miss., endorsed omnibus appropriation legislation that would provide funding increases for the military and investments in infrastructure, border security and the opioid epidemic.
The bill includes all 12 appropriation bills for fiscal year 2018 and is the result of negotiations from Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, as well as input from President Donald Trump's administration, according to Cochran's office.
"Extensive negotiations and hard work went into producing this legislation, which will provide robust new funding to begin rebuilding our military. It also directs new funding to some of the most critical challenges facing our nation, including faltering infrastructure and the opioid crisis," Cochran said in the statement. "Passage of this legislation is necessary to move us past stop-gap measures and shutdown threats. It will provide stability and guidance for the entirety of the federal government."
The measure sets funding caps for FY2018 and FY2019, and sets defensive spending levels at $700 billion and non-defensive spending at $591 billion.
According to Cochran, the bill includes the following:
- The agreement provides the biggest year-over-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. Combined with FY2018 funding previously approved by Congress for missile defense and disaster response, the Defense Department will receive more than $61 billion over the 2017 enacted level. The omnibus measure funds a 2.4 percent pay increase for troops and includes substantial increases to support aircraft, ship, and equipment procurement. It also provides flexibility to execute operation and maintenance accounts more efficiently.
- The measure increases funding to further strengthen border security, dedicating $1.57 billion toward physical barriers on the southern border, in addition to additional funding for immigration enforcement. The bill also increases funding for federal law enforcement agencies to enhance law enforcement, pursue prosecutions, and improve public safety.
- To promote economic growth and public safety, the bill provides $21.2 billion to support to rebuild and improve infrastructure, including transportation and capital projects, water and wastewater projects, and rural broadband.
- The measure addresses the national opioid emergency declared by President Trump by allocating more than $4.65 billion throughout the government to work with states and localities to fight the opioid epidemic. The funding, a $3.0 billion increase over FY2017, is directed toward continued opioid prevention, treatment, and law enforcement initiatives.
- The legislation also includes: record-level funding to care for veterans; continuation of the Hyde and Helms Amendments to protect life and prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion; and limits access to significant Department of Justice grant programs to recipients that follow federal law. The bill and accompanying statement include provisions to restrict bureaucratic excess and reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
Congress has until March 23 to approve the legislation.