September 26, 2018
The U.S. House today approved an Appropriations “minibus” funding bill, which includes the Department of Defense (DOD), the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) and Education Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019, as well as a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund remaining government programs until December 7, 2018. The legislation will now be sent to the White House for final approval.
Notably, with the completion of this package, Congress will have approved 75% of all annual discretionary funding prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30 – a critical step in returning to the regular federal funding process, and an achievement that has not occurred in over two decades. This is also the first time in over 20 years that Congress has passed a LHHS bill prior to the end of the fiscal year, and the first time in over 10 years it has passed a DOD bill prior to the end of the fiscal year.
House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen made the following statement on the legislation:
“Congress has no greater duty than to provide for our Common Defense. This legislation fulfills that this critical responsibility. The Department of Defense is now set to receive its full funding on time for the first time in over ten years. Providing this stability and predictability to our military leaders is a necessary and welcome step as we rebuild our Armed Forces.
“In addition, the legislation funds human service programs that will protect and save lives both now and in the future, This includes investments in vital National Institutes of Health research to cure diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, job training, college preparation, special education programs, programs to combat opioid abuse, school safety, and protections against pandemics and bio-threats.
“This package also includes a short term Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government open and operational until all 12 Appropriations bills can be signed into law. This will avoid the threat of any government shutdown, and allow for time for work on the remaining funding bills to be completed.”
In addition, in separate legislation, the House approved $1.68 billion in emergency relief funding related to Hurricane Florence. The funds are targeted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Fund for the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) programs. This funding will support Hurricane Florence recovery efforts from catastrophic wind and flooding that caused many deaths and tremendous damage. This includes resources to rebuild housing, infrastructure, and assistance to local and family businesses as they recover from damage caused by the hurricane.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Florence – particularly those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their loved ones. While there are sufficient funds for the immediate response, it is our duty to ensure that federal agencies are well-equipped to support ongoing and future recovery efforts,” Chairman Frelinghuysen said. “This legislation provides a first round of assistance for the residents of North and South Carolina who must rebuild their lives in the wake of this disaster. The Appropriations Committee continues to monitor Hurricane Florence and other natural disasters closely, and is fully prepared to take swift action if more funding is necessary.”