WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed two more federal funding bills today for fiscal year 2019 (FY19), including legislation for Defense and Financial Services Appropriations, completing nine of twelve annual discretionary funding bills for congressional consideration.
The Defense Appropriations Bill provides $674.6 billion for the Department of Defense to improve operations, readiness, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops. This includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding – an increase of $17.1 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. The bill also provides $68.1 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding. This funding level is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act which was approved by the House last month, as well as the recently enacted budget agreement.
The Defense legislation supports equipment upgrades to improve readiness and fully funds the military's request for an increase of 15,600 troops, along with a 2.6 percent pay increase. It also includes $202 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug program, which has provided strong support to the Kentucky National Guard in its missions to eradicate illicit marijuana plants from public lands in Eastern Kentucky.
Additionally, the Defense legislation provides $34.4 billion for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families and retirees. Specifically, the bill provides $364 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research and $318 million for sexual assault prevention and response."I am particularly pleased that this bill continued to prioritize oversight of the Department’s Electronic Health Record program. Many of you have heard the story of a young veteran in my district who lost his eyesight because his military health records could not be shared with the VA. This was a tragedy, and was wholly preventable. It is my hope that this kind of tragedy will never happen again. This is why I have been pleased by the recent steps that the Department of Defense and VA have taken towards interoperable electronic health records," said Rogers, Chairman Emeritus of the House Appropriations Committee. "But we as the Congress—and the Appropriations Committee--must continue to monitor this situation closely, and this bill provides us with the ability to do so through strong reporting requirements."
The FY19 Financial Services Appropriations Bill provides $23.4 billion for a diverse group of federal agencies responsible for regulating the financial and telecommunications industries; collecting taxes and providing taxpayer assistance; supporting the operations of the White House, the federal judiciary and the District of Columbia; managing Federal buildings; overseeing the federal workforce; and supporting rural broadband expansion.
Specifically, the legislation directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to follow congressional intent and place a premium on the value of local news programming, like WYMT-TV, a CBS affiliate in Hazard, Kentucky that has petitioned to be carried on satellite. The bill also encourages the FCC to allocate Universal Service Funds for broadband expansion in rural and economically disadvantaged areas.
The Financial Services legislation will also help combat the nation's drug abuse epidemic with an investment of $415 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), including $280 million for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and $118 million for other federal drug control programs. It also provides $100 million for grants to community anti-drug coalitions through the Drug-Free Communities Program, and supports Drug Court training and technical assistance with an investment of $2 million.
Both bills now move on to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
For a Defense bill summary, please visit: https://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=395335
For a summary of the Financial Services bill, please visit:https://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=395326
For the text of the Financial Services bill, please visit:https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP23/20180524/108372/BILLS-115-SC-AP-FY2019-FServices-FSGGBill.pdf
For the Financial Services bill report, please visit: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP00/20180613/108421/HRPT-115-HR_FSGG.pdf