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Making America More Secure; Breakdown of Funding


Newsletter from Congressman Doug LaMalfa, California 1st District 7/30/17


This week, the House of Representatives took a number of steps to help make America more secure. We passed a national security appropriations package, issued new sanctions on dangerous foreign adversaries, and passed many pieces of bipartisan legislation designed to improve the lives of our veterans.

National Security Appropriations Package

H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, is a package of four appropriations bills that provide funding for the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Energy (DOE), as well as the Legislative Branch. The package also includes funding to secure vulnerable areas of our southern border that currently allow anyone to come and go as they please. 

This appropriations package prioritizes three things – rebuilding our military, caring for our veterans, and strengthening our national security. I am confident that this spending package will help to protect Americans. Our troops will receive their largest pay raise in eight years and the VA will receive its highest ever level of funding to support the needs of our veterans. As a bonus for Northern California, the EPA will now be authorized to withdraw the overreaching Waters of the United States rule that has affected so many farmers in rural areas. This legislation is a huge step forward for our national security, our economy, and America’s capabilities around the globe.

Here is a breakdown of the funding:

Department of Defense – $658.1 billion

  • Fully funds 2.4% pay raise for troops – the largest in eight years.
  • $68.1 billion base funding for DOD.
  • $73.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations to maintain U.S. military superiority.
  • $241 billion for readiness programs (training, equipment, facility maintenance, and base operations).
  • $84.3 billion for research and development.
  • $149.9 billion for equipment and weapons procurement.
  • Raises troop levels, modernizes equipment, and targets resources for the development of new military capabilities.

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs – $88.8 billion

  • $78.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs – the VA’s highest ever level of funding.
  • $10.2 billion for construction of critical military infrastructure.
  • Supports medical care for 7 million VA patients.
  • $8.4 billion for VA mental health care services.
  • $7.3 billion for homeless veterans support and job training.
  • $50 million for opioid abuse prevention.
  • Prohibits the closure of Guantanamo Naval Station.

Energy and Water Development – $37.6 billion

  • Strengthens national security by increasing funding to $13.9 billion for DOE’s nuclear weapons program.
  • $6.16 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to improve public safety and create jobs – including $2.8 billion for navigation projects and $1.8 billion for flood and storm reduction activities.
  • Invests in DOE programs to move the U.S. towards energy independence.
  • Authorizes the EPA to withdraw the burdensome Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

Homeland Security – $1.6 billion

  • Provides $1.6 billion to secure the southern border.

Sanctions for Russia, Iran, and North Korea

America has no shortage of dangerous adversaries around the world. Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism that continues to be a direct threat to our strong ally Israel, as well as American interests. Russia continues to undermine the sovereignty of both its neighbors and the U.S., while North Korea has further escalated attempts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of threatening the U.S. and our allies. Each of these countries pose a serious threat to American interests. That is why the House passed H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which imposes new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The bill also gives Congress the authority to review any change in sanctions involving Russia.

Ultimately, Congress should have the final say when it comes to placing or removing sanctions on any foreign country, and this bipartisan legislation begins to establish that. Had this policy been in place during the last administration, Congress could have stopped the horrible Iran deal that gave billions to Iran and allowed them to develop nuclear weapons – while putting them on the fast track towards obtaining intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Senate acted quickly to move this important legislation forward, sending it to the President’s desk where it awaits his signature. I hope the President will join the House and the Senate in moving swiftly to send a strong message to America’s adversaries.

Providing for our Veterans

In April, the House voted to eliminate the sunset date for the Veterans Choice program, which appropriates funds for veterans to seek health care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as an alternative to VA care. President Trump soon signed that legislation into law. In June, VA Secretary David Shulkin notified Congress that, due to increased demand, the VA expects the funding for the Choice Program to be depleted by August.

This week, the House passed S. 114, which provides $2 billion to continue the Choice Program for 6 months while Congress works on other reforms. Additionally, we also passed eleven pieces of legislation to improve care for U.S. veterans. Here are the highlights:

  • H.R. 3218: Removes GI Bill time to claim benefits, consolidates the GI Bill program into one program, and restores eligibility to vets whose school closes in the middle of the semester.
  • H.R. 282: Allows a spouse to elect to use the same residence as the service member they are married to.
  • H.R. 1058: Makes changes at the VA to ensure podiatrists are on par with other doctors in the VA system.
  • H.R. 1690: Within 120 days of the end of each Fiscal Year, the VA must transmit all bonuses paid out to Senior Executives to HVAC and SVAC.
  • H.R. 2006: Creates a uniform system for reporting the cost savings from competition within the VA’s procurement system.
  • H.R. 2772: Requires the Secretary to approve the reassignment of all Senior Executive service (SES), and submit a semiannual report detailing cost of each employee movement; and requires the VA to inform Congress where the SESs are being moved.
  • H.R. 2781: Directs the VA to work with the GSA to increase the number of Service-Disabled Veteran and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses represented on contracts, or stop using GSA contracts for purchases.
  • H.R. 2749: Cracks down on fraudulent vet-owned small business contractors.
  • H.R. 3262: Creates Grow Our Own Directive (GOOD) pilot program to give education assistance to former service members with experience in the medical or military health fields to be trained as VA physician assistants (PAs).
  • H.R. 95: Makes permanent a pilot program to offer child care at VA medical facilities for service members that are the primary care takers of children, and are receiving mental health services or some other intensive health care services.
  • H.R. 1848: Hires 40 medical scribes (20 hired, 20 additional contracted) to be placed in 10 VA hospitals (4 rural, 4 urban, 2 identified as in need of medical efficiency improvements).

This week continued our momentum in the House of Representatives and furthered our track record of getting real results in the 115th Congress.


Doug LaMalfa



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