Vote Explanation for H.R. 244 — Vehicle for Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations

Last week, I voted in support of H.R. 244, which will provide $1.070 trillion in new funding for federal agencies through the end of September of this year. While this is not a perfect bill, it is a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, and is a major improvement from President Trump’s budget proposal.

Nearly all federal agencies and programs that are important to our district and vital to our national security received increased funding. Below are some of the highlights:

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funded at $34.1 billion, which is a $2 billion increase.
  • The legislation provides a $650 million increase for opioid addiction programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Climate research at NOAA continues at $158 million without a reduction.
  • Allows an additional 2,500 visas for Afghan translators and others who assisted the U.S. in the War on Terror.
  • Provides an additional $16.5 billion for the State Department and other international programs.
  • The bill revives year-round Pell grants, giving students in our communities with funds to pay for summer terms and increases the maximum awards by $1,650.
  • Provides $500 million for national infrastructure programs through TIGER grants.
  • Maintains funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at $300 million.

Fortunately, this legislation rejects funding for President Trump’s Border Wall with Mexico and increased deportation force. The bill also rejects numerous policy riders put forward by Republicans that would undermine Dodd-Frank consumer protections, defund portions of the Affordable Care, and roll back important environmental programs.