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Cramer Announces House Passage of All Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Bills

Sep 14, 2017
Press Release
First Time Completed Through Regular Appropriations Process Since 2006, Includes Cramer-Led Provisions for North Dakota

 

Recording: Audio 1, Audio 2, Audio 3

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer joined a majority of his colleagues today in passing a comprehensive appropriations bill combining all 12 spending bills required to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.

The Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018 combines the text of the every appropriations bill for FY 2018. It is the first time all appropriations bills have passed the House of Representatives through the standard appropriations process since FY 2006. “The House is proving to the American people that it can function as a governing body without kicking the can down the road,” said Cramer. “From subcommittee through full committee and on to the House floor, every appropriations bill has been thoroughly debated, amended, and passed in full view of the American public – the way our governing body is supposed to function.”

The House of Representatives:

  • Held 12 appropriations subcommittee markups
  • Held 12 appropriations full committee markups
  • Held member debate for 65 plus hours in full committee markups on funding legislation
  • Considered 444 Amendments considered throughout the committee process (subcommittee & full committee)
  • Nearly 1,000 Amendments were offered for consideration on the House floor and debated in the House Rules Committee

As the only branch holding the purse strings for our federal government, Congress is charged with considering and passing 12 appropriations bills each year to fund the federal government. Through the appropriations process, Congress is able to enact spending reforms and reprioritize funding for our country. “Passing every appropriations bill annually shouldn’t be considered an accomplishment, but in recent decades, Congress has failed to consistently achieve this goal,” said Cramer. “Now that the House has done its work, it’s time for the Senate to avoid passing another continuing resolution, and instead, have an open debate on all 12 appropriations bills. Senators need to take this responsibility seriously. If necessary, Leader McConnell should change the archaic Senate parliamentary rules to allow simple-majority votes on appropriations legislation.”

A continuing resolution is an extension of funding to all branches of government at the current year funding levels. Oftentimes, Congress will pass continuing resolutions when they have not come to an agreement on government funding before the end of the fiscal year, which is on September 30. Congress will also pass ‘omnibus’ bills, which frequently pass at the end of the year with little deliberation or debate from members. “This is the problem,” said Cramer. “We need to make continuing resolutions and large omnibus bills put together behind closed doors the rare exception, not the norm. Congress needs to be a transparent body, and I’m going to keep fighting with leadership to prove we can do just that. America will be better off for it.”

In the funding bill passed today, Cramer successfully spearheaded several policy provisions specific to North Dakota including:

  • Allowing the state of North Dakota to permit trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on the two federal interstates within the state’s borders. 
  • $250,000 available to help prevent blackbird damage to crops in the Northern Great Plains. 
  • Language urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adopt a definition of “surplus water” which excludes the “natural flows” of the Missouri River in the Corps rule entitled “Use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir Projects for Domestic, Municipal & Industrial Water Supply” is included.  This definition would respect North Dakota’s rights to appropriate its water resources without undue influence from the federal government.  Congressman Cramer previously worked to prevent the Corps from charging surplus water fees for such natural flows.  
  • Language to direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to only purchase waterfowl production area easements in the State of North Dakota if they’re consistent with State law.  In response to issues with these easements in North Dakota, the State recently passed a law preventing them from exceeding 50 years in duration.  Congressman Cramer continues to work towards improving the wetland easement program for landowners and farmers.

North Dakota specific highlights for the bill include:

  • Increase of $120 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be used for flood protection projects such as the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion. 
  • $400,000 to continue investigating flood control activities for the Souris River Basin in North Dakota.
  • $10 million is provided for environmental infrastructure projects which have assisted small communities in North Dakota to improve their water and wastewater systems.
  • Includes over $25 million for operation and maintenance of Army Corps facilities in North Dakota.  
  • Support for the Trump Administration’s withdrawal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule.  Congressman Cramer is supporting H.R. 1261, the Federal Regulatory Certainty for Water Act, to support rewriting a new clearer definition which respects state and private property rights.
  • $25 million to continue support for the solicitation of two large-scale pilot projects focused on transformational coal technologies, such as Project Tundra in North Dakota.
  • $15 million to expand external Department of Energy activities to develop separation technologies for the extraction and recovery of rare earth elements and minerals from U.S. coal sources.
  • Encourages university-based research to improve oil recovery, the use of produced fluids for geothermal energy, and the exploration of technologies to curtail flaring and venting in shale formations.
  • Prevent funds from being used to implement the Bureau of Land Management’s “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation” rule.
  • Prohibits funds from being used to enforce the EPA methane rule.
  • Prohibits funds from being used to implement the Social Cost of Carbon rule. 
  • Prohibiting the fiduciary rule from going into effect.

Other Bill highlights include:

Physical Barrier Construction - $1.6 billion

  • Provides $1.6 billion to secure our Southern border, including bollards and levee improvements, meeting the full White House request

Agriculture - $20 billion

  • $250,000 available to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) use of fixed-wing aircraft to reduce blackbird damages to crops in the Northern Great Plains
  • $2.8 billion for Agricultural Research, including the Agriculture Research Service and the Agriculture Food Research Initiative Grant Program. 
  • SNAP reduced by $4.87B from FY 17 to reflect declining participation
  • Prevents waste in school lunch programs
    • Schools demonstrating economic hardship can seek a temporary waiver from whole grain standards
    • Schools can serve low-fat flavored milk
    • No further reduction in sodium standards

Commerce, Justice, Science - $54 billion

  • The bill funds DOJ at $29 billion, an increase of $349 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. These investments will give federal law enforcement tools to thwart crime and terrorism, and bring criminals to justice.
  • Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $2.2 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.  Within this amount, funds are increased for the highest-priority grant programs, including $527 million for the Violence Against Women account (an increase of $46 million), $500 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $104 million), and $220 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (an increase of $10 million).
  • The bill also maintains funding for various other important grant programs at their current levels. This includes Adam Walsh Act grants ($20 million), DNA Initiative grants ($125 million), the Reduce Sexual Assault Kits Backlog grants ($45 million), Second Chance Act grants ($68 million), and Missing and Exploited Children grants ($73 million).
  • Anti-Opioid Abuse – Opioid abuse is a national epidemic, killing more people than car crashes each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill includes $103 million for programs to help stem this abuse – the full amount authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. This includes funding for activities such as drug courts, treatment, and prescription drug monitoring.
  • Trade Enforcement – The bill includes $15 million for the Trade Enforcement Trust fund, which is the full amount authorized by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. The bill also funds the International Trade Commission at $92.5 million, which is a $1 million increase above the enacted level, and increases Enforcement and Compliance at the International Trade Administration to the President’s request of $88.5 million.
  • Continues a prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.;
  • Continues various existing provisions related to firearms, such as a prohibition on the implementation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, and making four of these provisions permanent;
  • Prohibits unauthorized reporting and registration requirement on consumers purchasing multiple rifles or shotguns;
  • Prevents settlement money from going to activist groups by prohibiting the Justice Department from entering into civil settlement agreements in which a defendant is required to make a donation to a third party;
  • Combats cyberespionage by requiring agencies to conduct supply chain review before procuring sensitive information technology systems;

Homeland Security - $44.3 billion

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $13.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $1.6 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. These resources ensure our borders are protected by putting boots on the ground, improving infrastructure and technology, and helping to stem the flow of illegal goods both into and out of the country. Within this total, the legislation includes:
  • $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the Southern border – including bollards and levee improvements – meeting the full White House request;
  • $100 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents;
  • $131 million for new border technology;
  • $106 million for new aircraft and sensors; and
  • $109 million for new, non-intrusive inspection equipment.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $7 billion for ICE –$619.7 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Within this total, the legislation includes:
  • $185.6 million to hire 1,000 additional law enforcement officers and 606 support staff;
  • $2 billion – an increase of $30 million above the requested level – for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling;
  • $4.4 billion for detention and removal programs, including:
  • 44,000 detention beds, an increase 4,676 beds over fiscal year 2017;
  • 129 Fugitive Operations teams; and
  • Criminal Alien Program operations, including the addition of 26 new communities to the 287(g) program, which partners with local law enforcement to process, arrest, and book illegal immigrants into state or local detention facilities.
  • Cybersecurity and Protection of Communications – To combat increasingly dangerous and numerous cyber-attacks, the bill includes a total of $1.8 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate to enhance critical infrastructure and prevent hacking. Within this amount, $1.37 billion is provided to help secure civilian (.gov) networks, detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage, and enhance and modernize emergency communications. Funds are also included to enhance emergency communications capabilities and to continue the modernization of the Biometric Identification System.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education - $156 billion

  • Reducing Harmful Red Tape – The legislation includes several provisions designed to help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome government regulations, including:
  • A new provision prohibiting enforcement of the “Fiduciary” rule, which places significant new regulatory burdens on retirement investment advisers.
  • A continuation of provisions providing flexibility in the H-2B program, reducing regulatory requirements and ensuring that employers that comply with program requirements have access to the temporary, seasonal workers their businesses depend on.
  • The continuation of a provision exempting insurance claims adjusters from overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act in areas that have been hit by a major disaster.
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – The bill includes $249 million for NLRB – a decrease of $25 million below last year’s enacted level. The legislation includes a provision that prohibits the NLRB from applying its revised “joint-employer” standard in new cases and proceedings;
  • Special Education – The bill includes $12.2 billion for IDEA special education grants to states, an increase of $200 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, which will maintain the federal share of special education funding to states.
  • Student Support and Academic Achievement State Grants – The bill includes $500 million, $100 million above the fiscal year 2017 level, for grants that provide flexible funds to states and school districts to expand access, improve school conditions, and increase the use of technology.
  • Pell Grants – The maximum Pell Grant award is maintained at $5,920, funded by a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds. The bill rescinds $3.3 billion of the total $8.5 billion Pell surplus. The Administration’s budget proposed a rescission of $3.9 billion.
  • Impact Aid – The bill provides over $1.3 billion for Impact Aid, an increase of $5 million above the current enacted level.
  • Charter Schools – The bill increases funding for charter schools by $28 million, to a total of $370 million.
  • Increases funding for the National Institutes of Health by $1.1B – this includes $1.8B in Alzheimer’s Research
  • Combats opioid epidemic by continuing funding of $500M in the 21st Century Cures Act
  • Increases IDEA funding by $200M
  • Contains zero funding for Planned Parenthood, saving $330M in taxpayer money
  • Prohibits enforcement of the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development - $56.5 billion

  • Includes Cramer language to allow the state of North Dakota to permit trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on the two federal interstates within the state’s borders. Earlier this year, the North Dakota legislature passed HB 1255 unanimously in both the House and Senate. It was signed into law by Governor Burgum in April. The ND bill allows the North Dakota Department of Transportation to adopt rules to increase truck weights to 129,000 pounds on the two federal interstates and several major state highways within the state. Cramer’s language, if included in the final spending package, would grant North Dakota the authority to raise the weight limits to harmonize weights with Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, and Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Read Congressman Cramer’s written testimony here.
  • Provides robust funding for the FAA at $16.6B, an increase of $153M.
  • Provides $2.2B for our railroads, including $500M to our federal-state grant programs
  • Sustains Section 8 and Public and Native American Housing at $27.7B
  • Improve interstate commerce by affirming a uniform hours of service trucking requirement

Foreign Operations - $47.7 billion

  • Fully funds our $3.1B Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, supporting our vital ally in the Middle East.
  • Expands the Mexico City Policy to protect the sanctity of life around world
  • Nearly $360M for antiterrorism programs to counter ISIS and other terror groups. Additionally, this bill continues the counter-narcotics efforts in Latin American countries.

Financial Services - $20.2 billion

  • Provides $848M for the Small Business Administration
  • Reins in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and peels back harmful regulations
  • IRS: cuts almost $150M from the IRS budget
    • Prohibits the IRS from targeting groups for regulatory scrutiny based on ideological beliefs
    • Prohibits the IRS from determining church exemptions unless the IRS Commissioner has consented and Congress is notified

Interior and Environment – $31.4 billion

  • Cuts funding for the EPA by $534 million below FY17 levels which totals nearly 30% reduction to EPA’s overall budget since 2010.  Supports the President’s proposal to reshape the EPA workforce.
  • Authorizes the withdrawal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.  Congressman Cramer is supporting H.R. 1261, the Federal Regulatory Certainty for Water Act, to support rewriting a new clearer definition which respects state and private property rights.
  • Prevent funds from being used to implement the Bureau of Land Management’s “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation” rule.
  • Prohibits funds from being used to enforce the EPA methane rule. 
  • Prohibit funds from being used to implement the Social Cost of Carbon rule. 
  • Language to direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to only purchase waterfowl production area easements in the State of North Dakota if they’re consistent with State law.  In response to issues with these easements in North Dakota, the State recently passed a law preventing them from exceeding 50 years in duration.  Congressman Cramer continues to work towards improving the wetland easement program for landowners and farmers.

Energy and Water Development - $37.6 billion

  • Funds national security efforts, including nuclear weapons programs, energy research and development, and water infrastructure.  The bill totals $37.56 billion – $209 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.65 billion above the President’s budget request.
  • Funds Army Corps of Engineers at $6.16 billion, an increase of $120 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, to invest in our nation’s export capabilities through harbor and inland waterway enhancements and to increase resiliency to flood events. 
    • $400,000 is included to continue investigating flood control activities for the Souris River Basin in North Dakota.
    • $10 million is provided for environmental infrastructure projects which have assisted small communities in North Dakota to improve their water and wastewater systems.
    • Includes over $25 million for operation and maintenance of Army Corps facilities in North Dakota.  
    • Responds to concerns with the Corps review of non-federal alterations of civil works projects (Section 408) by providing $8.5 million to the program – a $5.5 million increase from FY 2017.
    • Language urging the Corps to adopt a definition of “surplus water” which excludes the “natural flows” of the Missouri River in the Corps rule entitled “Use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir Projects for Domestic, Municipal & Industrial Water Supply” is included.  This definition would respect North Dakota’s rights to appropriate its water resources without undue influence from the federal government.  
  • Provides over $28 million for Bureau of Reclamation facilities in North Dakota.  An additional $43.8 million is included nationally for rural water projects, including the continued buildout of drinking water infrastructure for Native American tribes in North Dakota.    
  • Provides $9.6 billion for DOE energy programs – a decrease of $1.7 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level – to encourage U.S. competitiveness and advance “all-of-the-above” energy dominance.
    • Provides $25 million to continue support for the solicitation of two large-scale pilot projects focused on transformations coal technologies, such as Project Tundra in North Dakota.
    • $15 million to expand external DOE activities to develop separation technologies for the extraction and recovery of rare earth elements and minerals from U.S. coal sources.
    • Encourages university-based research to improve oil recovery, the use of produced fluids for geothermal energy, and the exploration of technologies to curtail flaring and venting in shale formations.

Department of Defense - $658.1 billion

  • Boosts base funding for the Department of Defense by $68.1 billion to continue rebuilding our military
  • Includes $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding to ensure our troops have the training and equipment needed to maintain our military superiority
  • Fully funds the authorized 2.4% pay raise – the largest military pay increase in 8 years
  • Keep our military on the cutting edge of defense technology by investing $84.3 billion in research and development ($11.6 billion above FY17) and $149.9 billion in equipment and weapons procurement ($31.2 billion above FY17)

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs - $88.8 billion

  • Provides the highest level of funding ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs - $78.3 billion, an increase of $3.9 billion above FY17
    • Supports medical care for 7 million VA patients, including mental health care services, suicide prevention activities, traumatic brain injury treatment, opioid abuse prevention, and homeless veterans services
  • Helps rebuild our Armed Forces, increasing funding by 25% for the construction of critical military infrastructure that keeps our troops prepared and healthy (10.2 billion total)

Legislative Branch - $3.58 billion

  • Member Pay Freeze – The legislation freezes pay for Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in fiscal year 2018.
  • Capitol Police – The bill funds the Capitol Police at $422.5 million, an increase of $29.2 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This will fund critical safety and enhanced security functions for all Members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol Complex, and maintain public access to the Capitol and its office buildings.
  • Increased funding is included to address concerns related to security and protection traumatic shooting earlier this month. This includes $7.5 million to enhance protection for increased training, equipment and technology-related support items.
  • Library of Congress – The legislation provides $648 million for the Library of Congress, an increase of $16 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This increase will allow for information technology modernization within the Library, the Copyright Office, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  Language is included to allow public access to all non-confidential CRS reports.
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) – The bill contains $568 million in funding for the GAO, $450 thousand above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, to continue GAO’s critical oversight work providing Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent.

 

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