Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1) voted to pass a bipartisan budget agreement, instead of another government shutdown. This bipartisan agreement increases funding to fight the opioid epidemic, rebuilds our military, fixes America's crumbling infrastructure, funds our nation's critical community health centers, provides disaster relief for the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico, invests in scientific research, ensures our veterans receive the care they've earned, and continues the resurgence of the coal industry.
"More specifically, the bipartisan agreement authorizes an additional $6 billion investment to combat the opioid epidemic, and directs more of that money to states, like West Virginia, which are being ravaged by this crisis. This agreement will also result in significant investments in infrastructure for rural America, increased care for our veterans, funding for our nation's critical community health centers, and disaster relief for the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico," said McKinley.
"This budget agreement will also provide critical long-term funding for our national security and will enable our military to recruit more soldiers, give much-needed pay raises, upgrade aging equipment, and bolster our missile defense system," McKinley said.
"President Trump campaigned on a specific promise to revitalize the coal industry, and today's vote is another step towards achieving that goal. This bipartisan deal reauthorizes tax credits for carbon capture technology and includes a commitment to develop new clean coal technology, which will enable energy producers to burn coal cleaner and more efficiently," said McKinley.
"What's important is that President Trump is fulfilling his promises and facilitating bipartisan solutions," McKinley added.
The bipartisan budget agreement avoids a government shutdown in the short-term, which gives Congress the time to complete work on a long-term spending bill. There are several provisions included in the budget agreement that McKinley has been fighting for:
*Military - Provides a total of $659.2 billion for full year funding for the Department of Defense, including $584 billion for base and $75.1 billion for OCO.
*National Institutes of Health - $1 billion for FY18 and $1 billion for FY19 - to support additional scientific research.
*Opioids and Mental Health - $3 billion for FY18 and $3 billion for FY19 -- to combat the substance abuse epidemic, including enhanced state grants (with additional assistance for those states with the highest mortality rates and tribes), public prevention programs, and law enforcement activities related to substance abuse and mental health programs.
*Veterans - $2 billion for FY18 and $2 billion for FY19 -- to reduce the VA healthcare maintenance backlog.
*Infrastructure -- $10 billion for FY18 and $10 billion for FY19 -- to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects, and surface transportation.
*Coal -- Reauthorizes tax credits to help energy producers invest in carbon capture technology and provides a commitment to develop new clean coal technologies.
*Obamacare -- Repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel designed to ration care under Obamacare. The House of Representatives previously voted to pass a repeal of IPAB in 2015 and 2017, but both efforts died in the Senate.
Speaking on the need for a long-term budget deal, Defense Secretary James Mattis said:
"We need congress to lift the defense spending caps and support a two-year budget agreement for our military Today's congressional action will ensure our military can defend our way of life, preserve the promise of prosperity, and pass on the freedoms you and I enjoy to the next generation."