Rep. Rutherford Applauds Passage of Veterans, Water Infrastructure, Military Construction Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives voted to approve the House-Senate agreement on H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019. This bill makes key investments in water infrastructure and coastal flood protection, improves care and benefits for our nation’s veterans, and strengthens our military assets. The measure, which passed the Senate yesterday, is expected to be signed into law by President Trump in the coming days.
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. After the vote, Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) released the following statement:
“We have an obligation to responsibly allocate funding to meet our nation’s most critical needs,” said Congressman Rutherford. “This measure fulfills that objective by supporting our veterans, our national security, and water and coastal infrastructure. I am looking forward to the President signing this important legislation before the end of the fiscal year and am especially supportive of the military construction funding for the new facilities at Naval Station Mayport. As I have heard from Navy leadership and the LCS crews at Mayport, these facilities will ensure that our sailors are adequately trained as the Navy begins to deploy these ships. I am also proud that the conference report 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 $86.5 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. Funding the VA MISSION Act, which improves community care, expands the caregiver program, and expands other medical programs shows that Congress is committed to the solemn obligation of taking care of 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 $7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, an increase of $172 million, which will boost navigation and flood control improvements, like the ongoing deep dredge project at JAXPORT that will allow larger Panamax ships to bring cargo in and out of Jacksonville and 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 provides funding to enhance 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. The bill also maintains the pay freeze for members of Congress.