July 24, 2017
Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Rules Committee.
Thank you for having all of us before the Committee today to present an amendment to H.R. 3219, a legislative package providing critical appropriations for our national security.
Before I begin, I would like to thank the Chairs of the Subcommittees – including Chairwoman Granger, Chairman Simpson, Chairman Dent, Chairman Carter, and Chairman Yoder, who led the way on the bills and Amendment before you today – the Ranking Member of the Committee, Mrs. Lowey, and the Ranking Members of the Subcommittees – including Mr. Visclosky, Ms. Kaptur, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Ryan, and Ms. Roybal-Allard – for their work throughout this year’s Appropriations process. We all share a deep dedication to the important work of the Appropriations Committee, and I’m grateful for their incredible work to bring all 12 bills through the Committee in record time.
We are here to seek an appropriate rule to provide for prompt consideration of this important measure.
This legislation ensures that the most important services that the federal government provides – those that keep the American people secure – are funded responsibly and appropriately. This includes funding for the Department of Defense and our Intelligence Community, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Legislative Branch.
There should be no uncertainty when it comes to our security. It is our responsibility to the men and women in uniform – and to the millions of Americans they are charged with protecting – to provide them with the resources they need each and every year, on time.
With your Committee’s permission, the Chairs of each subcommittee will review their portion of this package, but I will take a moment now to present the highlights of this important bill.
First, the Department of Defense portion of the bill includes a total of $658.1 billion. This is an increase of $68.1 billion in discretionary funding above FY 2017 levels. It also includes $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations and Global War on Terrorism funding.
Secondly, this legislation also takes care of our veterans, who have sacrificed so much in service to this nation. Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs is increased by 5 percent over FY 17 levels to improve services to veterans and to address oversight and management issues within the Department.
Thirdly, within the Energy and Water portion of the legislation, national security is also prioritized. This includes funding for nuclear security programs that maintain our deterrence posture in the face of growing global threats.
Lastly, the legislation includes funding for important Legislative Branch functions. Without the funding in this measure, the Congress would not be able to serve the American people we are here to represent, assuring the security of Members of Congress, staff, and the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Capitol each year.
This measure demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our troops and to the American people – that this Congress will provide for the common defense.
I thank the Committee for the time, and I ask my colleagues to support it today and on the House floor.