Thompson Supports Government Funding Package
WASHINGTON —U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today voted in favor of a bipartisan comprehensive package to fund federal discretionary spending through the end of Fiscal Year 2018, which ends on September 30.
The bill contains all 12 annual Appropriations bills, which the House passed in the fall of 2017. It totals $1.3 trillion, including $78.1 billion in funding for the Global War on Terror (GWOT)/Overseas Contingency Operations(OCO). Total base funding, excluding OCO and emergencies, is $1.2 trillion.
The legislation adheres to the recently enacted budget “caps” agreement, providing an additional $80 billion for national defense – the largest year-to-year increase in base funding for the Department of Defense in 15 years.
It also provides increased funding for critical federal programs including efforts to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic, to secure our homeland, to promote school safety and mental health, and to make robust investments in education.
“This bipartisan funding package keeps so many of our essential programs running, importantly invests in our military, increases school safety and education funding, and provides for our rural communities,” Rep. Thompson said. “We are also continuing our fight against the opioid epidemic by deploying new resources to combat this crisis that is effecting every community in America. This bill makes major investments across the board to health and education programs that will boost our economy and promote future growth that will benefit all Americans.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OMNIBUS BILL
- National Defense – America’s Armed Forces sees the largest investment in 15 years. The bill provides $654.6 billion in both base and Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations funding – the biggest year-to-year increase since the beginning of the War on Terror. It fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for the troops, fulfills the requests made by Secretary Mattis and military leaders, and gives warfighters the resources they need to fight, win, and return home safely.
- Securing Our Homeland – The bill includes $47.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, an increase of $5.4 billion over the last fiscal year. These dollars will bolster border infrastructure, add more “boots on the ground,” increase detention space, and improve surveillance technology. The legislation includes $1.571 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the Southwest border. This amount provides for more than 90 miles of “border wall system,” going beyond the Administration’s budget request for a total of 74 miles in fiscal year 2018.
- Rebuilding America’s Aging Infrastructure – Improving the nation’s infrastructure is critical to reliability, safety, and economic growth. The legislation includes more than $21 billion for infrastructure projects across the country, including transportation, energy, water, and cyber.
- Combatting the Opioid Crisis – This legislation includes nearly $4 billion in resources to combat the opioid crisis that President Trump has declared as a national emergency. It will invest billions in treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts to stop the spread of these dangerous drugs and help families and communities get the assistance they need.
- Education & School Safety – To help protect children and to promote safe learning environments, the bill provides more than $2.3 billion in new funding to effective mental health, training, and school safety programs at the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services. The bill also includes steps to curb gun violence, including the so-called “Fix NICS” measure that would strengthen the background check system (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). The bill includes a $700 million increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which can be used for mental health services, technology advancements and STEM.
- Agriculture and Rural Communities – Discretionary spending for U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration programs are increased $2.4 billion over current fiscal levels. Rural broadband funding is increased by $600 million for USDA to start a loan-and-grant program to expand the infrastructure in rural America. The bill also corrects a language mistake in the tax reform bill that accidentally gave farmers a higher tax advantage if they sold crops to cooperatives rather than other buyers. Referred to as the 199A fix, the omnibus bill remedies an unintended consequence and would level the playing field for all farmers.