Mar 23 2018

Shelby: Senate Passes Funding Bill That Benefits Alabama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), today voted to pass legislation that would finalize the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process, benefiting our national defense and many other federal activities in Alabama. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 65 - 32, after advancing in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The measure will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“This measure will deliver the resources and certainty that the American military deserves, specifically the largest year-to-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. After a lack of investment to our nation’s Armed Services, Congress is working to strengthen our national defense,” said Senator Shelby. “The legislation also contains a host of important victories on behalf of the American people, such as fighting the opioid epidemic, rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure, protecting the American people by securing the homeland, and safeguarding our students. I am proud that the Senate has passed this strong bill.”

 The Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations legislation is a package of 12 annual appropriations bills for FY2018. It is the result of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations with input from the President.

 “Through this appropriations measure, Alabama will receive significant funding for a number of priorities around the state. For example, this legislation strongly supports missile defense, space exploration, biomedical research, law enforcement, and provides funding to improve local infrastructure, among other included priorities. I am proud to pass this measure which provides Alabama with the funding needed to continue economic growth and future development. I look forward to seeing our state benefit from this robust bill,” he said.

 The measure strengthens our national defense by making the largest investment in our Armed Forces since the beginning of the War on Terror. It provides a pay raise for the troops, funds new weapon systems, and invests heavily in measures designed to counter threats from ISIL and North Korea. Additionally, the legislation cares for our veterans by providing record level VA funding.

 The bill provides $4.6 billion to combat the opioid crisis. This funding will be spread across agencies for the purpose of opioid prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

 To renew America’s aging infrastructure, which is critical to our country and a top priority for the President, this legislation includes more than $21.2 billion in new infrastructure funding to ensure public safety, create efficiencies, and promote economic growth. This includes investment in rural infrastructure, including a new initiative for areas without broadband access.

 Further, the bill secures the homeland with adequate funding to fight terrorism, enhance criminal law enforcement, and secure U.S. borders – dedicating $1.57 billion toward physical barriers on the southern border, in addition to added funding for immigration enforcement.

 The legislation also safeguards our students by providing more than $2 billion in mental health, training, and school safety efforts to keep our kids and schools safe. It also contains the STOP School Violence Act to help ensure lifesaving resources are available to states and schools to stop violence before it happens.

 The following are a few of the provisions within the FY2018 appropriations bill of interest to Alabama:

 Redstone Arsenal

  • This bill contains important funding for critical research and development activities that are being conducted by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command that will enable the U.S. Army to deter and prepare for conflicts of the future, including investments to advance our cybersecurity, directed energy technology and capabilities in space.
  • The measure funds continued development of a new rocket propulsion system to modernize our national security space launch – Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which is $100 million above the President’s budget request.

 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – The bill includes $20.7 billion for NASA, which is $1.1 billion above the FY2017 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the budget request, to support the human and robotic exploration of space, fund science missions that enhance the understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe, and support fundamental aeronautics research. Click here for more information on NASA and other Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee priorities.

Huntsville Federal Courthouse – The measure includes $110 million to fund a new Federal Courthouse in Huntsville.

National Institute of Health (NIH) – The legislation provides the National Institutes of Health (NIH) $37.1 billion in funding, which is a $3 billion increase over last year’s levels.

Anniston Army Depot – The measure provides funding for Army ground vehicles such as:

  • Improved Recovery Vehicle (19 M88A2 Hercules), $86 million above the President’s budget request
  • Abrams Upgrade Program, $375 million above the President’s budget request
  • Stryker Lethality, $300 million above the President’s budget request
  • Survivability Double V-hull upgrades, $348 million above the President’s budget request

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) – The bill includes a total of $26 million for a new USCG HC-27J aircraft training simulator in Mobile.

Shipbuilding – This legislation provides important shipbuilding funding to grow our Navy, including funding for 3 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and one Expeditionary Fast Transport ship (EPF), proudly produced in Mobile. Additionally, the measure includes incremental funding for one LXR amphibious warship constructed in the nearby Huntington Ingalls Shipyard.

Red Snapper – The bill includes increased funding to protect and sustain our nation’s fisheries. The funding will support more accurate and agency-independent data and language allowing NOAA to experiment with alternative management regimes. Provisions in the bill will help expand opportunities for American commercial and recreational fishermen.