Top Democratic Priorities in FY 2019 Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Minibus
This week, the House is expected to consider the conference report on a three-bill "minibus" that includes the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, and Legislative Branch appropriations bills. A summary of Democratic priorities and successes in the minibus is included below. A PDF copy is available here. A statement from Ranking Member Lowey on the minibus is available here. A full summary of the legislation is available here.
House Democrats stood firm in negotiations over the first minibus package, securing increased funding for important national priorities like clean energy and transformational science and better health care for our veterans. House Democrats also forced Republicans to abandon extreme anti-environment riders. Among the Democratic priorities secured in the conference report are:
Rejects The Trump Budget
The conference report rejects President Trump’s extreme budget cuts, restoring $8.1 billion in funding for important priorities that create jobs, strengthen our economy, and build a better future for all Americans.
Increases Funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The conference report provides $2.38 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs in the Department of Energy to support the development of clean, renewable, and energy efficiency technologies across the country. The conference reports reverses a House cut of $243 million and provides $57 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.
Supports Advanced Energy Technology Research and Development
The conference report provides $366 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technology. The conference report reverses a House cut of $28 million, rejects President Trump’s proposed elimination of the agency, and provides $12.7 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.
Improves VA Infrastructure
The conference report provides the second installment of $2 billion for VA infrastructure needs. The funding includes $800 million for Medical Facilities for non-recurring maintenance, $750 million for seismic improvements, $300 million for Major Construction, and $150 million for Minor Construction.
Expands Opioid Prevention and Treatment for Veterans
The conference report provides $348 million for opioid treatment and prevention programs and $52 million to continue to implement opioid safety initiatives outlined as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, as well as to develop programs aimed at ensuring that non-VA providers treating veterans through community care programs are informed and in compliance with all VA standards for opioid safety and prescription guidelines.
Creates New Compensation for House Interns
The conference report provides $8.8 million in a new dedicated funding stream for Member’s offices to pay interns. Each Member’s office may use $20,000 of that money to pay interns over the course of the calendar year. Interns paid through this account do not count against the limit on paid employees.