Cramer: House Passes Make America Secure Appropriations Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer joined a majority of his colleagues today in passing a House appropriations bill combining four of the twelve spending bills required to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.
“Keeping Americans safe at home is the fundamental function of the federal government,” said Cramer. “Today’s appropriations package provides the resources needed to secure the border, supports our troops, and keep our promise to veterans who put their lives on the line. And most importantly, the bill keeps the President Trump’s promise to the American people – we’re building that wall.”
In addition, Congressman Cramer helped secure several provisions important to North Dakota as part of Energy and Water Development including funding for the Souris River Basin and instruction language urging the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt a new definition of “surplus water.”
“We prioritized programs and made tough decisions resulting in over $200 million in savings for the Energy and Water portion of this bill,” said Cramer. “Funding for our nation’s waterways and flood protection, including the North Dakota projects, are important to maintain and enhance our economic competitiveness and safety from flooding. I’m particularly pleased we included language urging the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt a definition of “surplus water” which excludes the “natural flows” of the Missouri River in a rule they’re working on. Our a definition respects the fact that the water in the river channel belongs to the state, not to the Corps of Engineers. The bill also continues support to remove the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule and puts additional money towards rural water projects under the Bureau of Reclamation, including ongoing investments at Native American water systems in North Dakota.”
Cramer also emphasized the bill’s importance to North Dakota energy priorities. “The bill strikes a balance for Department of Energy programs to advance all-of-the-above U.S. energy dominance while still decreasing such spending by $1.7 billion. It continues to support the solicitation of two large-scale pilot projects focused on transformational coal technologies, such as Project Tundra in North Dakota, and encourages university-based energy research to improve oil recovery, the use of produced fluids for geothermal energy, and curtailment of flaring and venting.”
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
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 is funded 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.
- A significant portion of the nation’s grain exports, petroleum products, and coal used in electricity generation travels through our inland waterway system. The bill also highlights increases in domestic energy production and maritime transport of energy commodities with the repeal of the oil export ban by encouraging support to projects at energy transfer ports.
- $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 – and directs the Corps to report to Congress on its delays and shortfall in FY17, including any efforts or mechanisms for adjusting its review process.
- 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. Congressman Cramer previously worked to prevent the Corps from charging surplus water fees for such natural flows.
- Supports the Trump Administration’s withdrawal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule by authorizing it’s withdrawal. 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.
- 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.
- Continues to support DOE’s partnership with the Department of Transportation to study the volatility of crude oil and its safe transport on our nation’s railways.
- Provides directed investments to help the energy sector fight against evolving cyber and other attacks.
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)