Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today endorsed passage of omnibus appropriations legislation that provides the largest funding increase for the American military in 15 years and makes significant investments in national priorities like infrastructure, border security and the opioid epidemic.
The omnibus measure incorporates all 12 appropriations bills for FY2018, and is the result of bicameral, bipartisan negotiations, with input from the Trump administration. The House and Senate have until March 23 to pass the measure.
“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.
“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,” he said.
The measure conforms to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached in February to adjust defense and nondefense discretionary funding caps for FY2018 and FY2019. The legislation sets defense spending levels at $700 billion and non-defense spending at $591 billion. It also meets priorities outlined by President Trump.
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.
Authorizing legislation attached to the package includes, but is not limited to, the Fix NICS Act and Stop School Violence Act, both relating to improving public safety; legislation addressing a tax inequity for agricultural businesses; and a reauthorization of the EPA Brownfields program to more effectively clean up contaminated sites that states and cities can reclaim for infrastructure development. Reauthorizations of certain federal programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Flood Insurance Program, are also included.
The following are links to the legislative text, in addition to summaries for the FY2018 appropriations bills within the omnibus agreement:
Senator Thad Cochran Press Release