How the FY18 Omnibus Helps District Seven
Last week, the President signed an important piece of legislation into law – the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
This bill is by no means perfect. However, contrary to some media reports, the bill includes many critical conservative priorities and, most importantly, fulfills Congress’s greatest responsibility: to provide for the common defense. This bill rebuilds our military by providing the largest increase in defense spending in 15 years and gives our troops their largest pay raise in eight years.
Helping Houstonians rebuild after Hurricane Harvey remains my top priority. The FY18 Omnibus invests more than $1 billion in the National Weather Service and $1.9 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood and storm damage reduction projects.
The Corps construction funding includes $16.5 million to continue the important replacement project for the outflow structures at the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. This funding represents a $34 million increase for the National Weather Service and a $215 million increase for flood and storm damage reduction projects over FY17 levels, which will help us prepare against future storms. This is in addition to the $141 billion emergency supplemental funding passed to help all those who are suffering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
As a senior appropriator and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) on Appropriations, I’m proud of the work my subcommittee has done to empower federal law enforcement, advance ground-breaking science and technology programs, and spur economic growth.
Here are several additional “wins” from the FY18 Omnibus:
Keeps our Families Safe: This legislation makes sure that the U.S. Attorneys, the DEA, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI are getting the money they need to make our communities safer and protect women against violence by prosecuting more criminals, human traffickers, drug dealers, international criminal organizations, and gangs.
Just last week, the ATF tracked down the Austin ‘serial bomber.’ They worked tirelessly and in amazing coordination with other federal law enforcement agencies to keep everyone safe. I’m grateful for the incredible work all of our federal law enforcement officers do behind the scenes daily to protect our families.
Cracks Down on Human Trafficking: Since taking over as Chairman of CJS, I have increased anti-human trafficking grants by 82%. This includes increased funding for the Minor Victims of Trafficking Grant program and victim services grants for labor-trafficked minors, and funding to relieve the unacceptable backlog of rape kits. I will continue to support legislation that fights human trafficking and works to end modern-day slavery.
Fights the Opioid Epidemic: We provide nearly $4 billion in funds to help address the terrible opioid epidemic, including an additional $300 million for state and local law enforcement programs to address the crisis.
Protects Second Amendment Rights: The bill preserves Second Amendment protections while also addressing gun violence. Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28), U.S. Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and I included our Fix NICS Act in the FY18 omnibus to ensure that federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Fixing the background check system will ensure that guns stay out of the hands of people who have broken the law and already forfeited their right to own a gun.
Strengthens Border Security: The legislation provides $1.57 billion to fund over 90 miles of a border wall – 16 miles beyond the Administration’s request – and fencing in key areas, including new construction and repairs. It provides a 10% increase for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and funds for over 100 additional immigration judge teams to speed up the removal of people who are in the country illegally.
Invests in Life-Saving Medical Research: This bill provides a $3 billion increase for NIH funding, the largest ever. It invests over $1.63 billion for Community Health Centers, a $135 million increase over FY17. Additionally, it contributes $1.97 billion for diabetes research and dedicates a renewed focus on research and development to find cures for medical conditions including: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Autism, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Lupus, breast cancer, epilepsy, kidney cancer, and alcohol and substance abuse disorders.
Invests in Ground-Breaking Science and Technology: I included my 52-year plan for NASA to restore the agency to the glory days of Apollo. I have provided NASA with the highest funding level in the agency’s history, and this legislation sets the foundation for NASA to fulfill this plan.
Thank you to all who contacted my office this week to share your opinions. Remember, you can always keep in touch with me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information on how we may serve you, and to follow my current legislation, please visit my website, Culberson.house.gov.