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Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Funding Bill Addresses Important Needs for Our Country
From Senator Mitch McConnell:
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the government funding bill:
“Later today, the House will vote to pass a funding agreement that advances a number of American priorities — achieving important things that would not have been possible under the previous administration.
“Take the border. President Trump and the Republican Congress made securing the border a priority — and this funding bill acts on it. After years of an administration that failed to get serious on border security, this bill provides the largest border-security funding increase in a decade. Passing this bill means updating physical border infrastructure. It means enhancing surveillance technology. It means increasing support for border personnel. It means finally providing resources to end the practice of catch and release. On securing our border, this bill obviously marks a departure from the Obama years — and an important step forward.
“Take defense. President Trump and the Republican Congress made rebuilding our military a priority — and this funding bill acts on it. After years of an administration that drew down our conventional force structure and failed to address increasing threats across the globe, this bill provides a critically needed down payment on rebuilding our military. Passing this bill means allowing our force to retain higher levels of end strength. It means funding the largest military pay raise in six years. It means replacing munitions used in the fight against ISIL. It means finally ignoring the Obama-era demand of requiring defense-funding increases to be equally matched to non-defense increases. On rebuilding our military, this bill obviously marks a departure from the Obama years — and an important step forward.
“These are notable wins, and they wouldn’t have happened without this administration’s tireless work in conjunction with the Republican Congress. Of course, there’s further to go in both areas. We know more work remains when it comes to strengthening our border infrastructure and stemming the tide of illegal immigration. We know more work remains when it comes to restoring our military’s combat-readiness and meeting the full needs of the force.
“But this legislation represents a step in the right direction in both of these areas — and it advances conservative priorities in many others. It adheres to spending caps, reforms bureaucracy, and consolidates, eliminates, or rescinds funds for more than 150 government programs and initiatives. It supports the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which shifts control of education out of Washington, and it extends an important school choice program. It helps tackle terrorism, fight crime, support veterans, protect life, reform the IRS and freeze funding for it.
“It cuts funding for the EPA, prohibits funding for President Obama’s climate slush fund, and advances an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy that prioritizes research on technological advancements in nuclear, natural gas, and coal power generation. This research funding, along with the bill’s support for troubled coal-mining communities and dislocated miners, is important for states like mine — as is the provision I was proud to secure that will permanently protect health care benefits for thousands of retired coal miners and their families.
“This bill also extends resources for a pilot program I worked with Congressman Hal Rogers to secure, which will fund the reclamation and development of abandoned mine sites. Moreover, this bill also provides significant new resources to tackle the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that continues to ravage communities in Kentucky and across the country.
“The many achievements in this bill resulted from countless hours of committee work and bicameral negotiations. I want to again recognize the appropriators, our Members, and this Republican administration for the tireless efforts that made this bill possible. The president and his team should be commended for their efforts in working with the Republican Congress to address many important needs for our country in this bill.
“I look forward to the House passing the bill today so that we can take it up and send it to President Trump for his signature soon.”