Chairman Frelinghuysen Floor Statement on the Fiscal Year 2018 Government-Wide Funding Legislation

Mar 22, 2018

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of the FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill, which contains the full legislation and funding for all of the 12 annual Appropriations bills. 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:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1625 – the final Appropriations package for fiscal year 2018.

This legislation contains full funding for all 12 of the annual Appropriations bill.

It represents thousands of hours of work and input by Members of Congress and a great staff – starting one year ago, with all 12 Appropriations moving through the Committee process last spring. These bills were then considered and passed on the House floor under a transparent and inclusive process. This represents the first time the House has passed all 12 bills before the end of the fiscal year since 2010.

After the bipartisan budget deal was enacted last month, Appropriations Committee leadership, House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle, and the White House quickly went to work, negotiating in good faith and in the best interest of the American people. The bill we are considering today is the product of this hard-fought agreement.

In total, the legislation provides $1.3 trillion in discretionary funding for the federal government, including $78.1 billion for the Global War on Terror and Overseas Contingency Operations. This meets the caps provided in the recent budget agreement.

Most importantly, it includes historic investments in our Armed Forces – including the largest year-to-year increase in funding for the Department of Defense since the beginning of the War on Terror.

It fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for our service men and women – the largest in eight years – and provides the largest dollar total ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to strengthening our national defense, this legislation boosts security here at home – stronger border infrastructure, additional “boots on the ground,” and better technology and equipment that will close gaps at our borders.

Specifically, this includes more than $1.5 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the Southwest border – providing for more than 90 miles of “border wall system,” going beyond the Administration’s request for 74 miles this fiscal year. Overall funding for border security and law enforcement within CBP and ICE is boosted by 30% above last year.

Funding is also focused on critical domestic priorities, addressing urgent needs that will improve quality of life for all Americans and support economic growth and job creation – especially infrastructure, providing more than $21.2 billion in new funding for transportation infrastructure, as well as energy and water infrastructure, and technology, like broadband and cybersecurity.

The package targets approximately $4 billion to fight the opioid epidemic that is devastating families across the country – the largest investment in addressing this public health emergency to date. Funding is also directed towards school safety, providing the training, mental health services, and grants to communities that will help prevent the kind of tragedy and heartbreak that occurred in Parkland, Florida.

And it provides robust funding for wildland firefighting and prevention programs, and includes forest management and fire budgeting reforms that will provide budget certainty and improve the health of our forests.

All of these investments are made responsibly – implementing strong oversight at every level of government to ensure we get the most out of every tax dollar. I hope that every member supports this legislative package.

Before I close, I would like to acknowledge the many people who helped bring this bill to the floor today: Mrs. Lowey, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, for her commitment to getting our work done; the 12 Subcommittee Chairs and 12 Ranking Members; and the Appropriations Committee staff, for putting in countless hours and sleepless nights to help bring this bill to the floor in break-neck speed.

In particular, I’d like to recognize our staff who are moving on or retiring: Matt Dennis; Chris Romig; and Carol Murphy.

Mr. Speaker, it is time that we fully fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2018. Our current Continuing Resolution expires tomorrow. It is in the best interest of the American people that we enact this legislation and turn our attention toward the next fiscal year.

This legislation moves our country in the right direction, and I ask that my colleagues in the House, as well as the Senate, vote “yes” and send it to the President’s desk as soon as possible.

I reserve the balance of my time.