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$146 Billion "Minibus" FY2019 Funding for Vets, Energy & Water, and Congress (Senate-Passed)

by Countable | 9.12.18

Here is the Senate's version of the MilConVA, Energy & Water, and Legislative Branch appropriations "minibus", now that a Conference Report has replaced the bill:



Summary:

(Updated June 21, 2018) This bill has been amended by the Senate to contain its version of a “minibus” appropriations bill containing $146 billion in FY2019 funding for military construction & veterans affairs, energy & water programs, and the legislative branch. The House passed its own version of the bill which totaled $145 billion. A summary of the Senate’s bill can be found below.

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION & VETERANS AFFAIRS

This section of the bill would provide $97.1 billion in FY2019 funding, up $5.1 billion from the year prior.

Veterans Affairs

This section would authorize FY2019 mandatory spending at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) and would provide $86.4 billion in discretionary funding for FY2019, an increase of $5 billion from the year prior. (The House version of this bill estimates mandatory spending at $109.2 billion.)

VA Medical Care: $78.3 billion would support medical treatment and healthcare for the VA’s approximately 9.3 million enrolled patients. Of the total, $8.6 billion would be for mental health; $860 million for the Caregivers Program; $400 million for opioid misuse prevention and treatment; $779 million for medical and prosthetic research; $525 million for women veterans healthcare; and $270 for rural health initiatives.

Additionally, this section would provide:

  • $1.8 billion for VA homelessness programs, including $450 million for the Veterans Families program;
  • $3 billion for claims processing to ensure that staffing and resources are utilized to reduce wait times and the backlog of disability appeals;
  • $1.8 billion for major and minor construction;
  • $75.6 billion in advance FY2020 appropriations and $121.3 billion in FY2020 advance mandatory funding.

Military Construction

Funding for military construction would total $10.3 billion for FY2019, up $228 million from the year prior. Of the total, $129 million would go to Overseas Contingency Operations in the Middle East. The European Reassurance Initiative would receive $792 million.

Specifically, this section of the bill would provide:

  • $1.6 billion for military family housing, up $173 million from the prior year including construction for nine housing projects.
  • $366 million for military medical facilities.
  • $388 million for safety improvements and infrastructure work at four overseas military schools.
  • $487 million to support construction needs of the National Guard and Reserve forces.
  • $171 million for the NATO Security Investment Program.

ENERGY & WATER

This section of the bill would provide $43.766 billion in funding for FY2019 energy and water programs, an increase of $566 million from the year prior.

Nuclear Security: Funding would total $14.8 billion, up $111 million from the prior year. This would include: $10.9 billion for nuclear weapon safety and readiness; $1.6 billion for maintaining naval nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers and submarines; and $1.9 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation activities.

Energy Programs: A total of $13.3 billion would be provided, up $379 million above the prior year, increases energy research toward an “all-of-above” solution to American energy independence.

  • Nuclear energy research & development would total $1.2 billion, the same as FY18, including $472 million for reactor research.
  • Fossil energy research & development would total $727 million, up $183,000 from the year prior.

Environmental Cleanup: Funding would total $7.2 billion for DOE environmental management activities, up $56 million from the prior year. This would include $6 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to continue remediation of sites contaminated by past nuclear weapons production such as Hanford, Savannah River, Oak Ridge, Idaho, and other DOE sites.

This section of the bill would authorize a pilot program for consolidated nuclear waste storage to allow the DOE to store nuclear waste at private facilities that are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Additionally, this section would provide:

  • $6.927 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, up $100 million from the prior year, to fund the Corps water resources infrastructure projects.
  • $6.65 billion for the DOE Office of Science, up $390 million from the year prior, which would support basic science research, development of high-performance computing systems, and next generation clean energy sources.
  • $1.493 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation to manage, develop, and protect the water resources of Western states.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

This section of the bill would provide $3.292 billion in annual funding for the offices of members of the U.S. Senate, the support agencies of Congress, security and police forces, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance. An additional $1.429 billion would be reserved for the House, so the total funding would be $4.790 billion, up $90 million from the prior year.

Senate Operations: Funding would total $928.5 million, up $8.5 million from the year prior, including investments in Senate cybersecurity capabilities and training to senators and staff. The pay freeze for members of Congress would remain in effect.

House Operations: A total of $1.2 billion would be provided to fund Members’ Representational Allowances (MRAs), leadership, committees, and officers of the House — up $32 million from FY18. The additional funding would provide for IT and cybersecurity enhancements, continuing mandatory workplace rights training and the Wellness Program, and provide funding for 25 additional fellowship positions to the Wounded Warrior Program, bringing the total to 110.

Capitol Police: A total of $453 million would be provided to the Capitol Police, an increase of $26.5 million, to address concerns regarding security in the Capitol complex and member security off-campus. It’d provide for an increase in officer and civilian staffing, provide some lifecycle replacement for equipment, and allow for continued training.

Architect of the Capitol: Funding would total $509.8 million, a decrease of $5 million, to prioritize day-to-day maintenance and critical safety projects. An additional $197 million would be reserved for House Office Buildings.

Library of Congress: A total of $687.4 million, up $17.5 million from the year prior, would allow the LOC to continue to support Congress and the public and modernize IT systems. Funding would go to modernizing mission-specific systems for the Congressional Research Service and the U.S. Copyright Office.

Government Accountability Office: Funding would total $589.7 million, up $10.8 million from the prior year, to allow GAO to hire new staff and support Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

Impact

Veterans; military families; military personnel; energy and water programs; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Dept. of Energy; the Dept. of Veterans Affairs; and Congress.

Cost

$138.80 Billion

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would lead to $138.8 billion in spending.

More Information

In-Depth: The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the energy & water bill on a 30-1 vote, the military construction & veterans affairs bill on a 31-0 vote, and the legislative branch bill on a 31-0 vote.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: smontgom65 / iStock)

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