Hill: ‘When We Support Our Armed Forces, We’re Safer and Stronger’
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) issued the following statement after supporting the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill, which funds the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House on May 24, 2018 and is consistent with the budget agreement, which was signed into law on February 9, 2018:
“Today’s vote reinforces the House’s efforts to rebuild our armed forces, restore our military readiness, and support our warfighters. This bill provides vital funding to keep Americans safe and honor our commitments to those who have served in defense of our great nation. In addition to giving our troops a well-deserved 2.6 percent pay increase, replenishing equipment and tools, modernizing our military fleet, the bill the House passed today includes nearly $2 billion for our C-130 aircraft, many of which are housed at Little Rock Air Force Base. I am proud of the House’s work to support our brave servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and across the world, and I will continue to fight to make sure they have the resources they and their families need.”
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) – The legislation includes $68.1 billion in OCO/GWOT funding. This will provide the needed resources for preparation and operations in the field to fight ongoing threats, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Israel, Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.
Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $144 billion – $139.3 billion for base requirements and $4.7 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – to provide for 1,338,100 active-duty troops and 817,700 Guard and Reserve troops. The bill fully funds the requested 15,600 end-strength increase and the 2.6 percent pay raise for the military.
Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $245.9 billion – $197.6 billion for base requirements and $48.3 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for operation and maintenance. Funding for base requirements is $9.3 billion above fiscal year 2018. This funding supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
Within this amount, the bill includes $1 billion above the request to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.05 billion above the request to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $20.6 billion total for depot maintenance. This funding will help rebuild our forces to ensure our troops have the training and equipment they need.
Research and Development – The bill contains $92.4 billion – $91.2 billion for base requirements and $1.2 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense systems and technologies. Funding for base requirements is $2.9 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level, and will help to support current military operations and to prepare our nation to meet a broad range of future security threats.
Specifically, this funding will support research and development of: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; space security programs; nuclear force modernization; continuation of the JSTARS recapitalization program; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Future Vertical Lift; the Israeli Cooperative Programs; and other important research and development activities, including those within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $145.7 billion – $133 billion for base requirements and $12.7 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for equipment and upgrades. Funding for base requirements is $2.5 billion above the request. These funds support our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our military needs to train and operate both for both the current fight and future fights.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains a total of $34.4 billion – $34 billion for base requirements and $352 million for OCO/GWOT requirements – $318 million above the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees.
Specifically, the bill provides $364 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $318 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request.
Reductions and Rescissions to Save Tax Dollars – The bill reflects commonsense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions, such as $870 million in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.
For text of the legislation, please click here.