WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement on the introduction of the first Minibus Conference Report:
“This bipartisan legislation will help America's veterans and bolster our national security. It provides for the largest dollar amount in the history of the VA, including the resources to implement critical reforms that will improve care. And it provides vital resources to support the infrastructure projects that form the foundation of our national security. We prioritize rebuilding military infrastructure, strengthening nuclear weapons and cyber security programs, and research and development funding to further our energy independence.
“This final bill also represents the revitalization of our appropriations process. Funding the government is one of Congress’s most basic responsibilities, and this conference report is a strong first act. We look forward to sending it to the president's desk soon.”
- The Conference Report for the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill equips the Army Corps of Engineers with the funding needed to improve the nation’s water infrastructure. This includes $3.2 billion for projects to update the waterways critical to facilitating commerce.
- Energy security is national security, and this bill helps protect our electrical grid from future attacks by putting resources toward research and development. It supports nuclear weapons security programs with $15.23 billion in funding for the Department of Energy.
- This bill also provides $13.5 billion to Department of Energy research and development programs, so that we can better harness our natural resources and promote energy independence.
- The Conference Report for the Military Construction and VA Appropriations Bill includes a total $10.3 billion for military construction projects, which is an increase of 2.4 percent from FY18 funding levels.
- The total number includes $1.6 billion to go toward housing the country’s 1.4 million military families, as well as $352 million for upgrading and constructing new medical facilities.
- This bill provides $72.3 billion for Veterans Affairs medical care, including money specifically allocated for mental health, opioid abuse prevention, suicide prevention, and rural health programs. It also designates funds for the improved community care program being established by the reforms passed earlier this year in the VA MISSION ACT.