Passage of Spending Bill Ensures Largest Investment in American Military in 15 Years
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) today supported H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides government funding for the remainder of the year while making much needed investments in our military, homeland security, infrastructure, school safety and our communities through the aggressive combatting of opioid abuse. The House passed the measure with bipartisan support, 256 - 167. It will now head to the Senate for approval.
“Since arriving in Congress I have consistently advocated for robust investment in our nation’s defense and I am pleased to say this legislation turns the tide on years of damaging defense cuts that have put our nation at risk,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee where she chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. “This agreement ensures the largest investment in the American military in 15 years, starting the reversal of the readiness shortfalls and providing our men and women in uniform the resources they need to get the job done,” said Hartzler, further noting that this legislation fully funds a pay raise for our troops.
Hartzler added that this measure delivers critical investment in other national priorities, including rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure. The legislation funds projects across the country, including transportation, energy and water and internet connectivity efforts that will create jobs and modernize our communities. It includes $600 million in investment for rural broadband improvements, an issue that Hartzler has championed in her district.
“While broadband internet deployment to larger cities across the country continues, more than half of rural Missourians still lack access to this vital resource and are left with antiquated, incredibly slow or non-existent internet access. This funding helps move forward efforts to address this,” said Hartzler, who has introduced her own legislation, the Expanding Rural Access to Broadband Act (H.R. 5213), to help expand broadband in rural areas.
“As is the case with much of our country, Missourians have been directly impacted by the scourge of opioid abuse. It is impacting our families and communities, and this legislation provides the largest investment to date to combat this crisis,” said Hartzler, whose local Drug-Free Missouri initiative focuses on fighting drug abuse throughout her district. The effort to fight opioids goes hand in hand with the legislation’s focus on youth safety and Hartzler’s efforts to stem school violence. A former middle and high school teacher, Hartzler added that H.R. 1625 also provides funding for effective mental health, training and school health programs. Hartzler recently visited the White House to discuss with the President the need for an all-encompassing approach to address school violence and advocated for her bill, H.R. 2513, the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, which would allow off-duty and retired police officers to carry a firearm to protect children at school.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act also invests in homeland security, addressing threats along America’s southern border by funding barriers and border protection technology. While disappointed that the Conscience Protection Act was omitted from the final bill, Hartzler was pleased that the bill maintained all historical pro-life and family values riders, including the Hyde amendment, the Hyde-Weldon amendment and the D.C. Needle Exchange Program Funding Ban.
Highlights of H.R. 1625 also include:
- Provides largest pay raise (2.4%) for our troops in a decade
- Rebuilds our military and increases readiness, bolsters our Naval forces, invests in critical procurement and replacement of aircraft to maintain air superiority and increases end strength of our Armed Forces
- Fully funds support to Israel, including additional funds for missile defense and anti-tunneling technology
- Provides more funding to build 90+ miles of President Trump’s border security wall
- Fixes the tax bill’s 199(a) “Grain Glitch” for our farmers
- Increases funding for our veterans and provides the necessary medical care, construction and modernization to reduce backlogs and fulfill unfunded requirements
- Invests $4 billion - the largest investment to date - to combat the opioid crisis and address prevention, treatment, and enforcement
- Directs $1 billion in funding for mental health programs, as authorized in 21st Century Cures
- Provides $37 billion for NIH, a $3 billion increase over FY17, to fund additional research and develop cures for major diseases