Senate to Pass Funding for Military, Addressing Opioid Crisis
‘[M]ore support for the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military force in the world. More support for the health and prosperity of American communities and workers. All the more reasons why I’ll be proud to vote for this legislation, and why I urge every one of my colleagues to join me.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Senate’s continued work on appropriations:
“Currently before the Senate is a crucial appropriations measure for the upcoming fiscal year. The conference report that will fund the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Defense. It’s the second minibus conference report we’ve taken up in what has already been an important year for regular appropriations.
“Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Shelby and Senator Leahy, all twelve spending bills were favorably reported from the Appropriations Committee by the end of June -- the fastest pace in 30 years. And for the first time in fifteen years, the Senate passed our Labor-HHS-Education bill before the beginning of the fiscal year. These milestones may sound like inside baseball. But what they signify is a Senate that is getting its appropriations process back on track -- a Senate that is attending to vital priorities for our nation.
“The package we’re voting on today will account for over half of federal discretionary spending for next year. Critically, after subjecting America’s all-volunteer armed forces to years of belt-tightening, this legislation will build on our recent progress in rebuilding the readiness of our military and investing more in the men and women who wear the uniform.
“This conference report increases appropriations to the Department of Defense by $19.8 billion over FY18 levels. And once enacted, our warfighters will have certainty in their funding -- on time, on October 1st, for the first time in ten years. First and foremost, this reflects a major investment in personnel -- more resources for recruiting the forces that our military commanders have called for and the largest servicemember pay increase in nearly a decade.
“It fully funds the Pentagon’s stated requests for operational support, including hundreds of billions in base support and maintenance funding, ensuring that critical ongoing missions continue -- from Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky to installations overseas. It also supports our National Guard and Reserve components, including many of the important missions executed by the Kentucky National Guard.
“The bill further ensures that combat units are equipped with overwhelming, cutting-edge capabilities. Critical funding for aircraft and aviation programs, for new battle force ships and hundreds of millions for the future of our missile defense capabilities. In addition to our armed forces, this bill will also provide for communities wounded by drug addiction, for families working hard to save for college tuition, for workers who are trying to catch up in ever-evolving industries.
“Under the Labor-HHS-Education title, this package would fund critical medical research at the National Institutes of Health, ongoing support for state opioid response grants, and apprenticeship and job training programs. It sets aside special funds for priorities like combating infectious diseases that ride on the coattails of the opioid epidemic and retraining dislocated rural workers -- both key priorities in states like Kentucky and around the country.
“So, to sum up -- more support for the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military force in the world. More support for the health and prosperity of American communities and workers. All the more reasons why I’ll be proud to vote for this legislation, and why I urge every one of my colleagues to join me.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Education, America's Military, Health Care, Labor