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Thornberry votes to fund government, increase military spending
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted today in support of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017” that passed by a vote of 309-118.
“This funding bill is the product of Congress and the White House working together to pass fiscally responsible legislation instead of continuing down the broken path of brinksmanship and partisan politics that we have been on for the last eight years. I am hopeful that the two branches can continue to work together for the good of our country,” Thornberry said.
The legislation provides $1.07 trillion in regular discretionary funding through September 30, 2017. Locally, the bill appropriates funding for national security facilities and programs such as training missions at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls and nuclear weapons activities at Pantex in Amarillo. About $3 billion total is authorized for Bell’s V-22 Osprey and helicopter programs, including the procurement of 20 new Ospreys and 26 AH-1Z / UH-1Y helicopter upgrades. An additional $112 million is provided for the V-280 program. Much of the work for those aircraft will be performed in Amarillo.
“It is good that the defense needs in this measure do not appear to be tied to any other issue. For too long, some in both parties have attempted to use our military as leverage to pursue other political objectives. Our defense needs should stand on their own merits, and doing so here is an important step on the long path to rebuilding America’s military," said Thornberry, who serves as the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
The legislation makes what Thornberry calls “a down payment on restoring our military.” It provides half of the $30 billion increase that the President requested for defense, which includes $5 billion for urgent combat needs and $10 billion for beginning to restore military readiness.
“We still have a long way to go to get our military in shape to meet the threats we face, and the importance of adequate funding in FY 2018 grows by the day,” said Thornberry.
Among other provisions, the bill:
• Provides $1.5 billion for additional border security improvements;
• Provides $50 million in additional current-year funding for VA to improve opiod and substance abuse prevention and treatment for veterans;
• Increases FBI operations by $277 million to combat terrorism, espionage, and cyber and violent crime;
• Ends Obama-era school meal regulations to provide flexibility for whole grains, milk, and sodium levels;
• Reduces EPA funding by $81 million;
• Freezes the IRS at current funding levels—$1 billion less than the Obama administration requested;
• Provides about $34 billion for the National Institute of Health, which represents an increase of $2 billion in funding over the previous year; and
• Maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions.