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H.R. 3219: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3219 in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an appropriations bill, which sets overall spending limits by agency or program. (Authorizations direct how federal funds should or should not be used.) Appropriations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year).

H.R. 3219 includes funding provisions from four individual appropriations bills – Defense, Legislative Branch, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water.

The major provisions of the bill are as follows:

Division A – Defense

Division A provides $658.1 billion for the Department of Defense, which includes $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). These funds are consistent with the House-passed Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution ($621.5 billion in base defense spending and $74.6 billion in defense OCO).

The legislation includes $138.3 billion to provide for 1,324,000 active-duty troops and 822,900 Guard and Reserve troops, as well as $1 billion for additional end strength, and fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for the military.

There is $241 billion for operation and maintenance, supporting key readiness programs to prepare troops for combat and peacetime missions, provide flight time and battle training, and provide needed equipment maintenance. Further, the bill provides $84.3 billion for the research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This specifically will support research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, space security programs, the new Air Force bomber program, a next -generation JSTARS aircraft, the Ohio-class submarine replacement, Future Vertical Lift, the Israeli Cooperative Programs, and other initiatives within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

In the case of Defense Health and Military Family Programs, the bill contains $34.3 billion for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. Specifically, the bill provides $282 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response.

The bill reflects savings which includes $1 billion from lower-than-expected fuel costs, $345 million from favorable economic conditions, and $1.5 billion from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.

Division B – Legislative Branch

Division B provides $3.58 billion for the Legislative Branch, excluding Senate items which are traditionally left to the Senate to determine. Within the $1.194 billion provided for House operations is additional funding for Member security and cybersecurity enhancements.

The bill includes $422.5 million for the Capitol Police, a $29.2 million increase above Fiscal Year 2017. This funding level will provide the necessary resources for the Capitol Police to hire additional officers for the newly acquired O’Neill House Office Building and the Rayburn garage security initiative, as well as $7.5 million for an increased security posture.

The Architect of the Capitol is funded at $581 million excluding Senate items. Major projects include restoration and renovation of the Cannon House Office Building, the Rayburn House Office Building Garage Rehabilitation project, an upgraded cooling tower at the Capitol Power Plant, new book collection storage module for the Library of Congress and funds for the House Historic Buildings Revitalization Fund.

The Library of Congress is funded at $648 million and provides for IT improvements Library-wide, the Government Accountability Office is provided $544 million, the Government Publishing Office is provided $117 million, and the Open World Leadership Center is funded at $5.6 million.

The legislation freezes pay for Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in Fiscal Year 2018.

Division C – Military Construction / Veterans Affairs

Division C provides a total of $88.8 billion in funding to house, train, and equip troops and provide care for our veterans, which includes $638 million in OCO funding, and is $6 billion above Fiscal Year 2017 and $613 million below the President’s budget request.

The legislation strengthens oversight and accountability at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to fully benefit our service members and our veterans. This includes rigorous reporting on the status of VA claims processing, requiring large construction projects to be managed outside of the VA, limiting transfers between construction projects, restricting certain spending actions without notification to Congress, and fencing funding for the electronic health record until the VA meets extensive data requirements.

The bill provides a total of $10.2 billion for 220 military construction projects including operational facilities, training facilities, hospitals, family housing, National Guard readiness centers, barracks, and overseas contingency operations construction. This includes $1.4 billion for military family housing, $737 million for medical facilities, $249 million for Department of Defense education facilities, $575 million for Guard and Reserve facilities in 22 states, and $178 million for the NATO Security Investment Program.

The legislation continues to prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and prohibit funding for any facility within the U.S. to house detainees.

Further, the bill includes a total of $182.3 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding for the VA to address problems currently facing the VA and provide for better and increased access to care for our veterans. Discretionary funding alone is $78.3 billion – a 5 percent increase above Fiscal Year 2017 levels – and the highest level of funding ever for the VA. That includes $69 billion for VA medical care for more than 7 million patients and addresses mental health, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury, homeless veterans, hepatitis C treatment, opioid abuse prevention, and rural health initiatives.

Approximately $65 million is dedicated to the acquisition of a new VA electronic record system using the same software as the DOD system, ensuring interoperability. Additional funding is provided to reduce the disability claims processing backlog.

Both major and minor construction of VA facilities is funded at $753 million.

Division D – Energy and Water

The bill provides a total of $37.56 billion for nuclear weapons activities and energy and water infrastructure investments. This includes $13.9 billion for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons security programs. That covers $10.24 billion for Weapons Activities, $1.486 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors, and $1.83 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.

The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $6.16 billion to fund activities with an impact on public safety, job creation, and economic growth, including $2.8 billion for navigation projects and studies and $1.8 billion to support public health and safety through flooding and storm damage projects.

The bill includes $6.4 billion for environmental management activities to safely clean sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production.

The Department of Energy is funded at $9.6 billion and prioritizes the research and development needed to ensure resilient, reliable, and affordable energy. The bill includes $5.4 billion for science research.

The Bureau of Reclamation is provided $1.23 billion. The bill includes $150 million to support efforts surrounding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

Other Provisions

The bill will include $1.57 billion for physical barrier construction along the Southern border. This includes $784 million for 32 miles of new border fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, $498 million for 28 miles of new levee wall in the Rio Grande Valley, $251 million for 14 miles of secondary fencing in San Diego, California, and $38 million for program planning and management.

In addition, the Rules Committee Print strikes section 9021 of the Defense Appropriations Act, 2018, addressing a new Authorization for Use of Military Force and replaces it with language that requires the President to submit a report to Congress on the U.S. strategy to defeat al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their associated forces, which is identical to language passed by the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, 2018.

Source: Republican Policy Committee

Totals Republicans Democrats
Yea 235
 
 
54%
230
 
5
 
Nay 192
 
 
44%
5
 
187
 
Not Voting 6
 
 
1%
4
 
2
 
Date:
Jul 27, 2017
Question:
On Passage of the Bill in the House
Required:
Simple Majority
Result:
Passed
Source:
house.gov

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