Chairman Frelinghuysen Floor Statement on House-Senate Conference Report on Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Funding Bills

Sep 26, 2018

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of the Conference Report for H.R. 6157, which includes the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bills, along with a Continuing Resolution through December 7, 2018:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present the Conference Report for H.R. 6157.

This Conference Report provides full-year funding for the Department of Defense, and for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies. It also includes a Continuing Resolution through December 7, 2018, for federal government programs and agencies not covered by enacted Appropriations legislation.

Congress has no greater duty than to provide for our Common Defense. This legislation fulfills that this critical responsibility. The Department of Defense is now set to receive its full funding on time for the first time in over a decade.

Providing this stability and predictability to our military leaders is a necessary and welcome step as we rebuild our Armed Forces. For far too long, their dedication to duty has been weakened by declining and uncertain budgets.

Congress has turned that around – beginning with significant investments in last year’s Omnibus, and continuing this year with an additional $17 billion in base funding for the Department of Defense.   

In total, this Conference Report provides $674.4 billion for our military – consistent with the levels authorized by the NDAA.

This funding ensures our troops have the resources they need to defend our nation and succeed in their global missions. This includes funding to sustain ongoing Overseas Contingency Operations and to support increased troop levels.

It also ensures our warfighters have the training, readiness programs, and other resources needed to prepare for their missions – and a pay raise of 2.6 percent.

This Conference Report also replenishes our military might – investing $148 billion in new and modernized equipment and weapons platforms, and $96.1 billion for research and development to improve the lethality, effectiveness, and safety of our defense systems.

In addition to this critical funding for our national defense, this legislation also includes funding for vital domestic programs.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill provides $178 billion for programs that protect the health, education, and labor standards that all Americans deserve.

Funding is directed to programs that have wide national benefit. The National Institutes of Health receives a $2 billion increases to bolster its life-saving research.

Notably, funding to fight the opioid abuse epidemic receives historic levels of funding, totaling $6.6 billion. This will support treatment, prevention, research, and other efforts to end this national crisis.

Another top priority is increased funding to keep our children safe in schools. This includes funding for mental health and other protective measures.

Lastly, the Labor, HHS bill invests in our future, creating economic opportunity and helping students get ahead and be part of a well-trained, 21st Century workforce.

In addition to these two Appropriations bills, the Conference Report includes a Continuing Resolution for the remaining areas of the federal government not covered by this or our previous bills that have already been signed into law. This will assure that the government stays open for business.

Upon enactment of this legislation, Congress will have provided full-year funding for three quarters of the federal government.

But there is still more work to be done on our remaining Appropriations bills.

For those bills, the Continuing Resolution extends current levels of funding through December 7, 2018, with a few minor, technical adjustments. This will allow Congress time to complete our work on the remaining bills – as we intend to do.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is yet another step forward on our goal of returning to “regular order” and fully funding the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year.

It is the product of months of hard work on the parts of our Conference Committee – led by Chairwoman Granger and Chairman Cole, along with Ranking Member Visclosky and Ranking Member DeLauro.

I also want to thank the Committee’s Ranking Member Mrs. Lowey and our Senate counterparts for their commitment to completing our Appropriations work.

This Conference Report would not be on the floor today without the Appropriations Committee’s dedicated professional and associate staff. I extend my deepest gratitude for their dedication, service, and hard work.

I urge my colleagues to vote “yes” on the Conference Report.

I reserve the balance of my time.