The “Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018”, (H.R. 3219), scheduled for House consideration this week, combines four security-related spending bills reported by the Committee on Appropriations: Defense (H.R. 3219), Energy and Water (H.R. 3266), Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (H.R. 2998), and Legislative Branch (H.R. 3162). This is the first step in passing the 12 appropriations bills that must be enacted before the new fiscal year begins on 1 October 2017. Below is a summary of the legislation.
H.R. 3219 provides $614.1 billion in base defense appropriations for fiscal year 2018. This level falls within the $621.5 billion overall defense spending level called for in the Budget Committee-reported fiscal year 2018 House budget resolution and the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 [NDAA].
Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism Funding
The consolidated measure provides approximately $75 billion in defense Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism funding, also consistent with the reported budget resolution and the NDAA.
Major Funding Priorities
H.R. 3219 provides funding for a number of critically important security-related initiatives, including:
• $1.6 billion to begin construction of the Southern Border Wall – fully funding the President’s request;
• Full funding of the President’s request for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including the advance appropriations request for fiscal year 2019;
• $13.9 billion for nuclear weapons security programs at the Department of Energy;
• Full funding for the authorized 2.4-percent pay increase for military personnel;
• $241 billion for Operation and Maintenance accounts to fill readiness shortfalls brought about by the previous administration; and
• An additional $12.5 million for the House Sergeant at Arms and U.S. Capitol Police to enhance Member protection and provide resources for additional security.
Major Policy Riders
The consolidated spending bill also includes a number of “policy riders” allowing Congress to exercise its Article I authority to limit or dictate how the Federal Government can spend appropriated funds. Examples include:
- A prohibition on the use of funds to close the naval detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or transfer or release detainees into the U.S. or their countries of origin;
- A prohibition on using funds to implement the Arms Trade Treaty unless the Senate ratifies that treaty; and
- A provision authorizing the Administrator of the EPA and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the “Waters of the United States” rule.
Steve Waskiewicz, Policy Advisor