Newhouse Statement on House Passage of FY 2018 National Security Appropriations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the U.S. House approved H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, to fund the military, raise our troops’ pay, support defense nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford, and support research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Rep. Newhouse worked to reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the Richland Operations Office (RL). The House legislation passed today includes $54 million more than the President’s FY2018 request.
“The most important job we have as Members of Congress is ensuring the safety of our nation,” said Rep. Newhouse. “This critical legislation prioritizes funding for vital components of our national security. It directs funding for our troops’ pay, including a 2.4 percent increase – the largest military pay increase in eight years. It provides appropriations to ensure our military has the necessary equipment to keep the nation safe from the threats we face. I am also proud this bill includes a bipartisan measure my colleague Rep. Derek Kilmer and I worked on to ensure the VA undertakes a framework to address systemic problems facing our veterans.”
Rep. Newhouse continued: “Today’s bill is important for Hanford; the legislation approved today provides strong funding for the Office of River Protection (ORP) that is critical to continue progress in the tank farms and at the Waste Treatment Plant. Reversing the cuts in the President’s budget was the right thing to do to fulfill the federal government’s obligation to clean up Hanford.”
Rep. Newhouse continued: “The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of our nation’s top national laboratories, as well as a major economic asset to Central Washington that employs thousands of researchers. This legislation provides a down payment on congressional support for PNNL to continue its scientific contributions in service of the nation.”
H.R. 3219 includes the language of the VA Management Alignment Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Newhouse and Rep. Derek Kilmer (R-WA), which would direct the head of the VA to issue a report to Congress detailing the steps they will take to reorganize and effectively improve veterans’ access to quality care. The legislation, supported by the American Legion and the American Federation of Government Employees, follows the release of comprehensive studies that uncovered management problems at the VHA. The reports that have been issued so far by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have uncovered problems with the VA’s human resource department and that the VA did not follow through on internal and Congressional recommendations to fix the problems of manipulated wait times and management failures.