Mitchell’s Statement on Passage of H.R. 1625
WASHINGTON - Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI-10) released the following statement this afternoon following passage of H.R. 1625, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018:
“Omnibus bills, continuing resolutions, and short-term spending bills are bad policy and bad politics which result from the government’s current ineffective process for budgeting and appropriating. That’s why I introduced The Protecting Our Children’s Future Act to repair Congress’ broken budget and appropriations process and rein in reckless spending. While I’m disappointed in this flawed process, Congress’ most basic obligations are to keep the lights on and defend our nation, both of which this bill accomplishes, while funding numerous priorities for the American people, and that is why I supported the bill.
Years of cuts have devastated our nation’s military capabilities and resources to the point that more men and women in uniform are being killed in training accidents than in combat. This bill fully funds the military at levels requested by the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, ensuring readiness, equipment maintenance, and other issues are remedied to restore our nation’s military capabilities. Other national security provisions in the bill include increased border security funding, including President Trump’s border wall, and resources to protect and strengthen our nation’s election infrastructure. It also provides a long overdue 2.4% pay raise for the men and women who protect our nation, as well increased resources to help our veterans, including the funding to implement a new VA Electronic Health Record system that will cut down the claims backlog.
This bill also provides nearly $4 billion to fight the opioid crisis which has ravaged our nation; claiming more lives than car accidents. These funds support treatment and prevention programs, as well as law enforcement efforts to prevent the flow of illegal drugs into our communities and nation. The bill fully funds mental health programs as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, fixes the NICS firearm background check system, and provides increased school safety grants and funding for law enforcement training.
This bill further provides more than $21 billion in funding to rebuild and modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure, including highways, rail lines and water infrastructure. Within that funding is $625 million to increase and expedite the expansion of rural broadband, which is sorely needed in Michigan’s 10th District.
I am also pleased that this bill provides full $300 million funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a bipartisan priority I have publicly supported, whose projects improve water quality, combat invasive species, protect the Great Lakes ecosystem, and more. Additionally, the bill includes my language requiring the State Department to issue a report within 60 days detailing their engagement with the Canadian government regarding the proposed deep geologic repository for nuclear waste in Kincardine, Ontario.
Ultimately, this bill will provide a long overdue boost to our nation’s defense, while addressing some of the most serious issues we face within our nation including opioid abuse, infrastructure, veterans’ care, and more.”