Reps Pass Appropriations Package
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa voted to pass an appropriations package that would extend the Violence Against Women Act, secure critical funding for missile defense, military readiness, community health centers, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, child care, education and more. The FY 2019 Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations package (H.R. 6157), which would fund the government through Dec. 7, 2018, passed the House by 361-61, and now heads to the President’s desk for signature.
“While I have concerns about some provisions in this legislation, ultimately this bipartisan funding bill will take care of our troops and help provide essential services for the people of Hawai‘i and across the country,” said Rep. Gabbard. “It provides a pay raise for our servicemembers, support for disaster recovery, funding for critical missile defense programs, including Hawai‘i’s Homeland Defense Radar, burn pits research for our veterans, opioid prevention and treatment, and more. It also invests in funding for Impact Aid schools, and funding for Hawai‘i’s fifteen community health centers that provide service for those in rural communities and those most in need. Our families all across the Hawai‘i face many challenges—we must put their well-being before politics and continue to find ways to deliver results for them.”
“It is encouraging that the Congress, despite the partisan battles that dominate news coverage, is slowly returning to the regular order when it comes to funding the operations of the government,” said Congresswoman Hanabusa. “This is the fifth bipartisan spending bill that we moved before the deadline and it is my sincere hope that we continue to put our differences aside and do the work of funding the federal initiatives and programs that our communities need. This is a solid compromise that funds important programs for Hawai‘i and our nation. It includes money to support Hawai‘i’s 15 Federally Qualified Community Health Centers that serve more than 150,000 people who need help finding access to quality, affordable health care and money for Title X programs that help with family planning and related health services for uninsured and underinsured patients. We were able to provide significant resources to support our veterans and men and women serving on active duty in Hawai‘i, including the most significant pay raise for our soldiers in nearly a decade. These funding measures demonstrate what is possible when we put country before party and serve the needs of our citizens. We thank our colleagues in the House for their work on this compromise and urge the Senate to continue with the regular order.”
Provisions of the 2019 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act and the 2019 Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 6157) would:
- Provide $150.7 billion for military personnel and increase military pay by 2.6%—the largest military pay raise in nine years.
- Make available up to an additional $7.9 billion in the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund for disaster response and recovery,including Hurricane Florence and those affected by natural disasters in Hawai‘i
- Direct $35 million for continued implementation and expansion of the Sexual Assault Special Victim’s Counsel Program,the same as the FY 2018 enacted level, to provide judge advocates who represent the interests of survivors throughout the military justice process.
- Provide $606.5 billion in base funding for the Department of Defense.
- Direct $10.3 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, including programs that strengthen the defense of Hawai‘i, like funding $136.7 million for Sea Based X-Band Radar, $62.2 million for Hawai‘i/Homeland Defense Radar, and $95.7 million for Aegis ballistic missile defense tests, and more.
- Fund $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $2 billion above the FY 2018 enacted level, to support research to improve prevention, treatment, and cures to life-threatening illnesses and diseases such as Alzheimer’s cancer, HIV/AIDS, influence and diabetes.
- Provide $34.4 billion for defense health programs, including cancer research, traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, breast cancer research, prostate cancer, and more. This funding includes $1 million for Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs coordination for burn pits research and $22 million for Gulf War illnesses research. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has introduced the bipartisan Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671) to evaluate the exposure of U.S. servicemembers and veterans to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals.
- Allocate $4.4 billion, $0.1 billion above the FY 2018 enacted level, for programs to respond to the opioid crisis,including prevention, treatment, surveillance, research to develop non-opioid pain medication, behavioral health workforce training, and support for children and families. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2018(H.R. 5782) to hold drug companies and executives accountable for profiting from the opioid epidemic.
- Provide $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), $125 million above the FY 2018 enacted level for CDC’s public health programs and activities.
- Provide $1.6 billion in discretionary funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs), the same as the FY 2018 enacted levels. Combined with $4.0 billion in mandatory funding, total funding for Community Health Centers is $5.6 billion, which is $200 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Hawai‘i is home to 15 Community Health Centers that serve about 150,000 people, including those in low-income, rural, and underserved communities.
- Fund $286 million for Title X Family Planning, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level, supporting family planning and preventive health services to millions of low-income, uninsured, and underinsured Americans each year, including more than 13,335 people in Hawaiʻi.
- Direct $5.3 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level, providing much needed investment in CCDBG programs in Hawai‘i, which currently only cover 11% of eligible keiki.
- Provide $10 billion for Head Start, $200 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level.
- Provides $1.1 billion for TRIO, $50 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.
- Allocate $3.7 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level, helping keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs.
- Provide $1.4 billion for Impact Aid, $32 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. During the 2013-2014 school year, the State of Hawai‘i supported more than 28,000 federally connected students. The average Impact Aid reimbursement for a student is about 15% of the total cost – leaving Hawai‘i taxpayers and the State government to fund the remaining balance. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the bipartisan Survey Our Military Impacted Schools Act to evaluate the unmet renovation, repair, and expansion needs of elementary and secondary schools that serve many dependents of U.S. military personnel and federal government employees.
- Allocate $300 million for Veterans Employment and Training, $5 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level.
- Permit the use of funds to pay for death gratuities to dependents of servicemembers killed in action in the event of a government shutdown.
- Provide $1.2 billion for Environmental Restoration Accounts, $13.2 million more than FY 2018 enacted level, to clean up active, inactive, formerly used lands, and lands and resources affected by past Department of Defense releases of hazardous substances.
- Direct the Secretary of HHS to submit a family reunification plan to Congress and fund trauma counseling services for separated children, to increase transparency and oversight of HHS and help provide care and services to children in HHS custody. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a cosponsor of The Keep Families Together Act (H.R. 6135) that would prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from taking children from their parents at the U.S. border, except in extraordinary circumstances such as trafficking, abuse or neglect.