Government Funding Bill Contains Significant Victories For The Nation
‘Yesterday evening, the House filed a landmark appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2018. Months of in-depth, bicameral, bipartisan negotiations and committee work have led up to this point. The result is legislation that neither side sees as perfect -- but which contains a host of significant victories and important achievements on behalf of the American people.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the government funding bill:
“Yesterday evening, the House filed a landmark appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2018. Months of in-depth, bicameral, bipartisan negotiations and committee work have led up to this point. The result is legislation that neither side sees as perfect -- but which contains a host of significant victories and important achievements on behalf of the American people.
“First and foremost, in my view, this bill will mark the end of disproportionate and harmful cuts to Department of Defense funding. It delivers the largest year-on-year increase in defense spending in fifteen years. These new funding levels will ensure the training and tools available to our servicemembers remain on the cutting edge. And at long last, veterans will receive more transparent and more accessible care.
“This has been a top priority, on our side of the aisle especially: To deliver for our men and women in uniform. To deliver for the future of national security. This bill will get it done. Of course, our armed forces aren’t the only vital priority this measure will address.
“It’s a victory for families caught in the grip of the opioid epidemic. This bill scales up research, treatment and prevention funding and provides for grants to first responders. It will confront the scourge of addiction head-on and help save lives. For rural communities, like many in my home state of Kentucky, this is a big deal.
“The measure is also a victory for safe, reliable 21st-century infrastructure. It will fund long-overdue improvements to roads, rails, airports, and inland waterways to ensure that our growing economy has the support system it needs.
“Importantly, the bill also contains a number of provisions to provide more safety for American families. It expands funding for federal law enforcement. It allocates new resources to border security and immigration enforcement, including an important step forward for President Trump’s proposed wall. The total miles of new and upgraded walls and barriers funded by this bill exceeds even the Administration’s initial request for this fiscal year. And it also provides the necessary funds to keep Guantanamo Bay open and operating.
“The legislation also delivers for students and teachers across our nation, who deserve to learn and work without fear of violence. At the insistence of the Speaker and myself, this bill will include two important, bipartisan, commonsense measures to address real issues facing the nation: the Fix NICS bill and the STOP School Violence Act.
“Thanks to the leadership of Senator Hatch, this bill represents a major step forward for school safety. It provides millions of dollars in new funding for early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens. These grants will include funding training of students and school personnel for identifying and responding to safety threats as well as for implementing enhanced technology and equipment to improve school security.
“And thanks to the dogged efforts of Senator Cornyn, the ‘Fix NICS’ provision to repair and improve firearm background checks is also included. Both of these bipartisan accomplishments are the direct result of tireless work by those who have been most tragically affected by violence in America’s schools.
“Here’s how Mark Barden, a cofounder of Sandy Hook Promise, described the school safety provision: ‘This legislation will save lives.’ Likewise, the Parkland, Florida families recently wrote all four congressional leaders to ask that we include these two particular measures in this piece of legislation. I am proud that we could deliver -- for them, and for the safety of schools around the nation.
“Let’s take one more look at just a few of the good things this bill will accomplish. The largest year-on-year funding increase for our warfighters in 15 years. New resources for the fight against opioids, and for border security and the president’s wall. Major enhancements for law enforcement and school safety. These provisions, and the entirety of this omnibus, represent months of bipartisan work. I look forward to considering it soon.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, America's Military, Second Amendment, Infrastructure