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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today addressed the Senate to encourage passage of the omnibus appropriations agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year.
Cochran was instrumental in writing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (HR.244), which is legislation to complete the 11 remaining appropriations bills. The Senate passed the measure on 79-18 vote. The bill now goes to President Trump, who has indicated he will sign it into law.
In his remarks, Cochran noted the importance of the measure to strengthening national security, border security, and other priorities such as funding to combat the opioid crisis and to boost medical research. He also called attention to the funding rescissions, program terminations or program consolidations across the federal government, which totaled more than $11.427 billion.
“While the additional funds for defense and border security have received much of the attention, there are many other important programs funded within the appropriations bills that comprise this legislation,” Cochran said. “Throughout the bill, spending controls are placed on Federal agencies. There are more than 150 rescissions, consolidations or program terminations within this bill. These savings have been reallocated to higher priorities.”
The House on Wednesday passed the legislation, 309-118.
Cochran’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:
The Senate will consider this afternoon the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. The bill will fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal Year. I urge the Senate to approve the bill.
It provides our Armed Forces with the money they need to safeguard our homeland and protect our interests around the world. The funding levels are within the limits of the Budget Control Act. In total, the bill would increase Department of Defense spending by $23.6 billion over President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 request. These funds are badly needed to improve the readiness of our Armed Forces, and to continue our campaign to defeat ISIL.
This bill includes the largest investment in border security in nearly a decade. Additional funding is provided for fencing and other physical infrastructure; communications and surveillance technology; the hiring of additional agents; and additional detention beds to help stop the practice of “catch and release.”
These funds will help reduce human trafficking and the flow of illegal drugs into our country.
While the additional funds for defense and border security have received much of the attention, there are many other important programs funded within the appropriations bills that comprise this legislation.
For the second year in a row, funding for research at the National Institutes of Health is increased by $2 billion. New funding is included to combat the opioid epidemic that has plagued communities across the country. The FBI receives additional funding to protect against terrorist threats and combat illegal cyberactivity.
Throughout the bill, spending controls are placed on Federal agencies. There are more than 150 rescissions, consolidations or program terminations within this bill. These savings have been reallocated to higher priorities.
The basis of this legislation are the 12 appropriations bills that were reported from the Appropriations Committee. This is the second year in a row that the Committee has reported all 12 bills.
This bill reflects a year’s worth of concerted effort by the chairmen and ranking members of our 12 subcommittees. It also reflects a great deal of hard work by the Committee staff, for which I am deeply grateful.
I urge Senators to support the bill.