May 2, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today testified before the House Committee on Rules on the House amendment to H.R. 244, which contains the text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.
The text of his prepared statement follows:
Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions and Ranking Member Slaughter.
Thank you for having me before the Committee today to present the House amendment to H.R. 244 – the final Appropriations package for fiscal year 2017.
I am here before the Committee today to seek an appropriate rule to provide for prompt consideration of this important measure.
The bill includes full-year funding for the remaining 11 annual Appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017, as well as emergency and supplemental funding.
It provides a total of $1.163 trillion in base and Overseas Contingency Operations / Global War on Terror funding – meeting the base discretionary caps provided by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and providing additional funding for critical national defense, border security, and emergency needs.
This bill is the product of well over a year’s worth of careful, committed efforts by nearly every member in this body. It reflects our common values, and will help move our nation forward.
First and foremost, this bill makes America safer and stronger. The bill makes a down payment on rebuilding our military by increasing overall Defense funding by over $25 billion above FY16 levels. This includes funding to defeat ISIL, to counter radical extremism around the world, and to support our allies.
It also includes $1.6 billion for an additional 36,000 troops above the previous Administration’s budget request. To support our men and women in uniform – all volunteers – it fully funds the largest military pay raise in six years, providing for their training, and supporting their families.
The final package also includes $1.5 billion in funding to strengthen our borders – the largest increase to border security technologies and infrastructure in more than 10 years.
Law enforcement and the health and safety of the American people are top priorities. Funding for the FBI, US Marshals, CBP, and ICE is increased, and critical dollars are targeted toward vital and effective programs within the NIH and CDC and toward programs that battle the opioid abuse epidemic across the country.
The legislation also includes provisions for other key national priorities – like disaster relief, important transportation infrastructure, support for education and local communities, like DC school vouchers, and fully-offset, permanent health care benefits for retired coal miners.
Just as importantly – this bill uses taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively.
The bill streamlines the government by freezing, cutting, or eliminating funding for dozens and dozens of programs.
This includes reining in the EPA’s executive overreach and cutting its funding by $81 million, freezing the IRS at current levels, and prohibiting funding for the Green Climate Fund and the UN Climate Change panel.
Strong oversight is implemented at every level of government to help ensure that no taxpayer dollar is misused or goes to waste. We must make every dollar count!
In sum, this is a solid bill that reflects the most important needs of the American people – ensuring the future prosperity and security of our nation.
As you know, the current Continuing Resolution expires this Friday. Our time is limited. We must complete our work for fiscal year 2017 so we can address 2018 priorities.
I would like to thank the Ranking Member of the Committee, Mrs. Lowey, for her hard work on this bill.
This package reflects shared, American values. This bill moves our country in the right fiscal direction, and I ask that my colleagues in the House and the Senate support it, vote on it, and send it to the President’s desk as soon as possible.