WASHINGTON-U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted today in support of the Fiscal Year 19 Appropriations package. This bill passed by a vote of 300 to 128 and will now go to the president's desk for signature.
"I agree that this bill is not great, but it does improve border security, and it includes several provisions that are important to the people of our area. It is better than another shutdown or another continuing resolution.
“Each of the past five Administrations – Republican and Democrat – have sent military personnel and resources to our southern border. It should be clear to everyone that Congress has not provided adequate resources to control who and what crosses our border for many years.
“I appreciate the President's determination to do so, and I denounce the stonewalling of the Democratic leadership in Congress, which I believe is based more on politics than the national interests.
“At the same time, I encourage the President not to divert significant Department of Defense funding for border security. Doing so would have detrimental consequences for our troops as military infrastructure was one of the accounts most deprived during the Obama-era defense cuts. And it would undercut one of the most significant accomplishments of the last two years – beginning to repair and rebuild our military. I hope that the President will pursue other options."
What's in the bill:
Immigration and National Security:
Addresses the humanitarian and security issues at the border by including $1.375 billion for a physical barrier and technology,
Increases the number of immigration judge teams from 395 to 534 to help reduce the immigration case backlog,
Includes funding for federal law enforcement to combat terrorists, espionage, drug traffickers, gangs, and violent criminals,
Combats the financing of terrorism and terrorist groups and strengthens the development and enforcement of sanctions against Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Cuba, and
Provides over $9 billion for international security assistance programs.
Red River Survey:
Includes provisions to direct the Bureau of Land Management to survey the Red River independent, third-party surveyors who are licensed and qualified to conduct official gradient boundary surveys and who are selected jointly and operate under the direction of the Texas General Land Office and the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office, in consultation with each affected federally recognized Indian tribe.
Encourages economic development and job creation in rural communities by providing $3.7 billion for rural development programs,
Boosts growth and development of small businesses by allowing the opportunity to use the Small Business Administration loan programs, and
Provides funding to implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, so that Americans can continue to keep more of the money they earn.
Advances drug treatment and recovery initiatives,
Increases funding on medical product safety, including funding to continue to fight the opioid crisis, and
Provides $1.05 billion for food safety and inspection programs at the Department of Agriculture.
Ensures that rural areas have the same access to basic utilities by investing in rural broadband expansion, rural electric and telecommunications loans, and loan subsidies for clean drinking water and waste disposal systems.