LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: House Passes Three Appropriations Bills for Fiscal Year 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019. This bill makes major investments in water infrastructure and coastal flood protection, increases funding for veterans’ health care and benefits, and bolsters our military assets.
Of great importance to Northeast Florida, the bill includes $111 million for two much-needed facilities for the training and support of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) crews at Naval Station Mayport. Upon House passage of the bill, Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) released the following statement:
“The passage of this appropriations package signals that the House of Representatives is dedicated to good stewardship of taxpayer funds,” said Congressman Rutherford. “I am especially proud of the military construction funding for the new facilities at Naval Station Mayport. These facilities will ensure that the LCS crews are adequately trained as we continue to rebuild our fleet and deploy these ships in future years. I am also proud that the VA portion of this bill included an amendment I cosponsored that ensures veterans can choose whether they receive orthotic and prosthetic care at the VA or in their communities.”
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill contains $85.3 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest dollar amount in history for the VA, while strengthening oversight and accountability to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to best benefit our veterans. Additionally, the bill provides funding and resources to resolve claims for more than 450,000 veterans who are waiting for the compensation they deserve.
The Energy and Water appropriations bill makes significant investments in our nation's water infrastructure, including $3.3B for navigation projects, like the ongoing deep dredge project at JAXPORT that will allow larger Panamax ships to bring cargo in and out of Jacksonville. It also includes $2.1 billion for flood and storm damage reduction projects, like the on-going beach renourishment initiatives that make Florida’s coastal communities more resilient to hurricanes and storms. It also includes funding for research and development to continue securing our nation's electric grid against cyber and other attacks.
The Legislative Branch appropriations bill contains an increase of $29.9 million to enhance the safety and security for the thousands of guests who visit the U.S. Capitol every day. The bill also maintains the 10 percent spending cut for Congress that has been in place since Fiscal Year 2010 and provides funds for the Government Accountability Office to continue its critical oversight work, which provides Congress with reporting on how taxpayer dollars are spent on federal programs.