Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation -- H.R. 1625, the "Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018" -- to provide discretionary funding for the remainder of FY2018. The measure incorporated 12 individual appropriations bills that were either passed by the House or approved at Committee level. Most notably, the bill marks a pivot from the previous Administration's reduction in military funding while making record investments in Georgia priorities such as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The bill also prioritizes resources for the Department of Homeland Security, school safety programs, and opioid abuse treatment and prevention. Rep. Woodall (GA 07) issued the following statement after its passage.
"The bill we passed today does important things for Georgia and America, and is a good example of what we're achieving together. It is not the bill I would've written alone, nor is it the bill I voted for nine months ago when the House got its work done on the country's appropriations bills. But given the procedural hurdles the Senate has struggled to overcome year after year, our best hope of moving forward is contained in this legislation today. It delivers on the Administration's commitment to our military, national security, and beyond, and it also provides record resources for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), which is vital not only to Georgia, but the entire region. I'm pleased by the progress, but the fact remains that in order to address America's fiscal challenges, we must have a willing partner in the Senate."
"Passage of this bill today can mark a turning point. Broad, consolidated spending bills are inevitably going to prevent the kind of precise attention that is needed to address America's fiscal challenges, and the process must be corrected. The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, on which I serve, has been tasked with this challenge and is already working very hard to achieve this goal. I look forward to continuing that work, succeeding in that goal, and making this the last time we push a consolidated appropriations bill to the President's desk."
H.R. 1625 includes, but is not limited to:
·Benefits to Georgia -- Secures $50 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, prevents a federal power grab of Georgia's water supply, as well as investing in the state's National Guard and Reserve Equipment, and the research, procurement and manufacturing of F-35 aircraft in the state.
·National Defense -- After years of neglect, this bill starts rebuilding America's Armed Forces by making the largest investment in 15 years. It provides $654.6 billion in Defense Department base and Global War on Terror funding and $14 billion in nuclear security. It fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for the troops, fulfills the requests made by Secretary Mattis and military leaders, and gives warfighters the resources they need to do their jobs and make it home safely.
·Securing Our Homeland -- The bill includes $47.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, an increase of $5.4 billion over the last fiscal year. These dollars will bolster border infrastructure and improve surveillance technology. The legislation includes $1.6 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the Southwest border. This amount provides for more than 90 miles of "border wall system," going beyond the Administration's budget request for a total of 74 miles in fiscal year 2018.
·Rebuilding America's Aging Infrastructure -- Improving the nation's infrastructure is critical to reliability, safety, and economic growth. The legislation includes more than $21 billion for infrastructure projects across the country, including transportation, energy, water, and cyber. It also reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration through September 2018, a critical component of Atlanta's busiest airport in the world.
·Combatting the Opioid Crisis -- This legislation includes nearly $4 billion in resources to combat the opioid crisis that President Trump has declared as a national emergency. It will invest in treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts to stop the spread of these dangerous drugs and help families and communities get the assistance they need.
·Pro-life protections -- The omnibus retains all the longstanding pro-life riders, such as the Hyde, Helms and Dornan (DC Hyde) amendments, among others.
·School Safety -- To help protect children and to promote safe learning environments, the bill provides more than $2.3 billion in new funding to effective mental health, training, and school safety programs at the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health.