Frelinghuysen Statement at Conference Committee Meeting on FY 2019 Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Package

Sep 13, 2018

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following statement before the House-Senate Conference Committee meeting on H.R. 6157, the second FY 2019 "minibus" Appropriations package, which includes the Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills:

Good morning. Thank you all for being here today.

I am pleased we’re meeting today at our second formal Conference Committee meeting of the year. This meeting represents yet another step toward our return to regular order.

I know that Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Leahy, and Ranking Member Lowey share my commitment to regular order, and I want to thank them for their partnership as we continue this process.

We are considering three items this morning: the Defense Appropriations bill for FY 2019; the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill for FY 2019; and the continuing resolution.

In front of each of you is the full set of conference notes for each of the two bills noting the matters in disagreement between the two bodies. We have reached resolution on all items and completed our work on these bills.

The dispositions of each item are annotated in the notes before you, as well as the annotated bill text in the side-by-side comparison.

The one additional matter for consideration by the conferees is the Continuing Resolution. A section-by-section summary of the CR is before you. It is merely a continuation of current levels, with a few minor, technical adjustments. The CR duration is through December 7, 2018, allowing us time to complete our work on the remaining bills – as we intend to do.

Earlier this week, the House filed the first “minibus” Conference Report for the 2019 Fiscal Year, which I expect the House to pass later today.

We continue that forward momentum today as we meet on the Fiscal year 2019 Department of Defense, and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills.

This is the necessary next step toward completing all our Appropriations bills as soon as possible, before the end of the fiscal year in just over two weeks.

And, I will note, this is the first time we’ve conferenced the Department of Defense bill since the 2007 Fiscal Year.

This is a tremendous step forward on our goal of returning to “regular order.” I thank all of you for your commitment to this process and this institution.

Providing for our national defense is Congress’s most important responsibility, but it is especially critical now.

Our Armed Forces have been weakened by years of declining and unstable budgets.

It is time that we provide our military – the greatest military in the world – with the resources they need to rebuild.

Both the House and the Senate bills laid strong groundwork for this, and through our negotiations, we will provide robust funding for our troops and the equipment and training that keep our nation secure.

In addition to funding the Department of Defense, it is also necessary that we fund critical domestic priorities.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill supports programs that protect the health, education, and labor standards that all Americans deserve.

Again, I want to thank the members of the Conference Committee – particularly Chairwoman Granger, Ranking Member Visclosky, Chairman Cole, Ranking Member DeLauro, and their counterparts in the Senate – along with our hard-working staff, for their efforts that brought us to the table today.

I look forward to continuing this progress with the Conference meeting for our third “minibus” later today.

Thank you.