The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes critical funding for national defense, combating the opioid crisis and school safety funding, as well as Rutherford’s H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2018 now moves to the Senate for a vote before heading to the president’s desk for signature. Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) released the following statement following passage of the bill:
“Few things are more important to a nation than safety and security,” said Rutherford. “Keeping our children safe in school, our homeland secure, and our national defense strong is our first responsibility to the citizens that we represent. This bill includes funding for the STOP School Violence Act to invest in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens. I know from my time as Sheriff that school and community safety requires a multi-layered approach, and I am thankful to all of my colleagues in the House and Senate for the bipartisan support of the STOP School Violence Act and for their commitment to keeping our children safe. In addition to school safety funding, the bill we passed today makes great strides to back our men and women in uniform, giving them the largest pay raise in eight years and providing them the resources they need to protect our freedom at home and abroad.”
Background: The bill includes critical funding for:
- National Defense – After years of sequestration, this bill starts rebuilding America’s Armed Forces by making the largest investment in 15 years. It provides $654.6 billion in both base and Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations funding – the biggest year-to-year increase since the beginning of the War on Terror. 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 fight, win and return home safety. This bill also includes increased funding for critical missions, such as 14 Navy ships, 10 P-8A Poseidons, 90 F-35s, and 5 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes.
- 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, add more “boots on the ground,” increase detention space, and improve surveillance technology. The legislation includes $1.571 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 public safety and economic growth. The legislation includes more than $21 billion for infrastructure projects across the country, including transportation, energy, water, and cyber.
- Combatting the Opioid Crisis – This legislation includes nearly $4 billion in resources to combat the opioid crisis, which President Trump has declared as a national emergency. It will invest billions 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.
- School Safety – To help protect children and to promote safe learning environments, the bill provides more than $2.3 billion in new funding for effective training and school safety programs through the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services. The bill also includes passage of Rutherford’s STOP School Violence Act, which overwhelmingly passed the House last week as a stand-alone bill by a 407 – 10 vote. The STOP School Violence Act provides funding for violence prevention training for students, teachers, and law enforcement officers, increased technology to improve school security, as well as anonymous reporting systems to prevent violence before it ever enters our schools.