Historic defense spending increase while advancing important AR projects including SEFOR clean-up, Future I-57 and more
Mar 23 2018
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement regarding passage of legislation that will fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018:
“Despite the breakdown of the process that led us here, this bill deserved our support. It will strengthen our national defense, help secure our borders and address critical needs here at home.
The bill makes important investments in military readiness, procurement and recruitment and retention efforts. It includes the biggest year-over-year increase in defense spending in 15 years and the largest pay raise for our troops in almost a decade.
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I am proud of the work we put into this bill to ensure that our country is able to address security risks here at home.
Additionally, provisions included in the bill will help move important Arkansas projects forward. It includes funding to complete efforts to decommission and dismantle the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR), a provision that will allow I-57 to connect between Arkansas and Missouri and support for critical national defense programs based in Arkansas.
It is my hope that, moving forward, we can close the door on the flawed practice of continuing resolutions and omnibus bills and make it a priority to pass all twelve appropriations bills on an annual basis.”
Highlights of the Omnibus Bill
Historic levels of defense spending
- Allocates over $700 billion in defense spending to support national security needs.
- Grants a 2.4 percent pay raise to the men and women of our Armed Forces.
- Includes the Taylor Force Act, which ends American taxpayer dollars going to the Palestinian Authority if they do not stop paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members.
Funds efforts to keep us safe at home
- Includes the full funding level requested in the President’s budget for border security.
- Supports the construction of 95 miles of border wall on the southern border.
- Provides significant funding increases to enhance law enforcement, pursue prosecutions and improve public safety by giving law enforcement agencies additional resources to tackle the constantly-changing landscape of criminal activity at home and abroad.
Moves Arkansas projects forward
- Provides $10 million to complete cleanup work at the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR).
- Allows Future I-57 to connect between Arkansas and Missouri.
- Includes $26 million in military construction funding for the construction of a dormitory at Little Rock Air Force Base and $150,000 to maintain the Pine Bluff Reserve Center.
- Provisions supporting the Joint Chemical-Biological Defense Logistics Hub at the Pine Bluff Arsenal and the Air National Guard Cyber Skills Validation Training at Little Rock Air Force Base are included in this bill.
Funds important domestic priorities
- Fighting the Opioid Crisis: Provides $4.6 billion to combat the opioid crisis, which President Trump declared as a national emergency last fall. This is a $3 billion increase over FY2017. Under Republican Congresses, anti-opioid funding has increased by $4.1 billion.
- Keeping our Promise to our Veterans: Provides a record level of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs while increasing oversight and modernization.
- Modernizing our Infrastructure: Includes more than $21.2 billion in new infrastructure funding to ensure public safety and promote economic growth, including new funding for highways, waterways, airways and railways with a focus on rural infrastructure, including a new initiative for areas without broadband access.
- Safeguarding our Students: The bill includes more than $2 billion in mental health, training and school safety efforts to keep our kids safe at school. 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.
- Help for America’s Agriculture Producers: Includes language to address the unintended consequence related to sec. 199 in the tax reform law. The bill also includes the Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act, which Boozman introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), to improve access to voluntary farm conservation programs administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).