Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Releases Border Security And Government Funding Agreement
WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13, 2019) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday released the bipartisan conference agreement to make responsible investments in border security and finish work on the remaining seven appropriations bills to fund the government. The $333 billion bipartisan package funds the nine remaining federal departments and their agencies, rejects President Trump’s demand $5.7 billion border wall and a deportation force, and makes responsible investments in border security long supported by Democrats.
Leahy the lead negotiator for Senate Democrats on the Conference Committee said: “This is not a deal I would have made on my own, but that’s not how deals work. Everyone gave something. Together, we reached a bipartisan agreement that not only makes responsible investments to secure our borders, but invests in the American people by supporting scientific research, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and investing in rural communities.”
The bipartisan agreement to fully fund the government through the end of this fiscal year includes significant increases in the programs and investments on which American workers and families rely. The agreement finishes Congress’s work on the funding promised under the Bipartisan Budget Act, which raised non-defense discretionary spending by $78.5 billion in fiscal year 2019 above fiscal year 2017 enacted levels, an increase of 15 percent, and $18 billion over fiscal year 2018 enacted levels. It funds the nine remaining federal departments which include: Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, HUD, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury. This includes funding priorities such as:
- Housing and Infrastructure: The agreement provides $10.71 billion in new resources compared to fiscal year 2017 to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and $1.25 billion for the HOME program – REJECTING attempts by the Trump Administration to ELIMINATE both programs.
- Securing the Environment: The agreement REJECTS damaging cuts proposed by the Trump Administration and conserves and protects our environment and cultural programs by INCREASING funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to $8.85 billion and INCREASING funding for the National Park Service, which protects our cultural and natural treasures.
- Supporting Science: The agreement REJECTS the anti-science know-nothingism of the Trump administration by supporting research and our nation’s dedicated scientists. The agreement funds NASA at $21.5 billion to explore the solar system and protect our planet, provides $8.1 billion to continue the ground breaking research at the National Science Foundation, and REJECTS President Trump’s dangerous cuts to climate, weather and ocean research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Public Safety and the Opioid Crisis: The agreement provides billions of dollars to support law enforcement and public safety, including grants to help communities put 1,000 more police officers on their streets, and provides $497.5 million, the highest funding level ever, for the Office on Violence Against Women, and more than half a billion dollars to help combat the opioid crisis.
- Rural America: The agreement includes more than $1 billion in rural housing loans, more than $1 billion rural business development loans and grants, and more than $500 million to support high-speed internet access in rural communities for a total of $3.64 billion in rural development.
- Global Commitment: The agreement provides billions of dollars to combat HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases and millions of dollars to support global nutrition programs. Malnutrition contributes to almost half of all the deaths of children under five by undermining their health and development.
- Public Servants: Importantly, the agreement ensures that more than 800,000 public servants and their families will not have to endure another Trump Shutdown and secures a 1.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment for federal civilian employees.
The agreement funds reliable and proven border security solutions long supported by democrats, including:
- $100 million for border security technology between the ports on our southern and northern borders such as mobile surveillance capability and innovative towers;
- $564 million for non-intrusive inspection equipment at our land ports of entry to scan inbound cars, trucks, and cargo for narcotics and other contraband;
- $414.7 million to address humanitarian concerns at the border, including medical care, more efficient transportation, and holding facility requirements with better conditions and services for migrants;
- $563.4 million to hire new immigration judges to address the backlog;
- $527.6 million to support the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, focused on addressing the causes of migration of undocumented Central Americans to the U.S.,
- $191 million for new infrastructure at the Calexico land port of entry;
- $112.6 million for aircraft and sensor systems, including $86 million for 3 additional multi-role enforcement aircraft;
- $14.5 million for integrated coastal interceptor vessels for patrolling our maritime borders; and
- $76.9 million for countering opioids with detection equipment and staffing at international mail facilities.
The agreement includes $1.375 billion for approximately 55 miles of pedestrian and levee fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, compared to the $5.7 billion sought by the President
The bill will now go before the House and the Senate before it can be signed into law by the President.
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