House Passes Budget Agreement with Critically Important Wins for Long Island
Washington, DC – The House of Representatives just passed the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 244) to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017. Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) voted YES on this budget agreement struck between President Donald Trump and Congress.
Just some of the very important highlights of this legislation include:
- $25 billion in increased defense funding for a necessary improvement to military readiness and national defense.
- Largest pay raise for our military in 6 years.
- $277 million for the FBI to increase operations to combat terrorism, espionage, and improve cybersecurity efforts.
- $1.5 billion in increased funding for border security to strengthen infrastructure and technology, and improve Border Patrol hiring initiatives.
- $10.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard, a $344 million increase to protect our maritime border and national security on our coast line.
- $8 million in funding for the Long Island Sound Program, an increase of $4 million in funding, $26.7 million in funding for the National Estuary Program, and $72.5 million in funding for Sea Grant.
- Essential funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and ARPA-E program, which will be funded at $5.3 billion and $306 million (a $15 million increase), respectively; this funding provides necessary jobs and research for Brookhaven National Laboratory, SUNY Stony Brook and other scientific research in NY-1.
- $3.6 billion in funding towards mental health and the implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, to increase treatment and recovery services for those suffering. This includes a $150 million increase in funding from last year for prevention and treatment programs for opioid abuse, as well as $500 million in funding authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides a total increase of $650 million for initiatives to address the opioid crisis.
- $34 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is an increase of $2 billion, for the scientific research of diseases.
- The Maximum Pell Grant award is increased to $5,920, and also contains a provision which restores year round Pell grants.
- Maintains important caps on government spending to ensure fiscal responsibility.
Congressman Zeldin said, “Many important bipartisan priorities have been secured for our community, state and nation. Working with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress, this agreement supports our great military, and strengthens our border security and other homeland defense needs, including the largest increase to border security technologies and improvements in more than a decade. I'm pleased to see that we are no longer tying needs for defense spending with domestic discretionary spending, and that more conservative minded appropriation bills are finally and importantly being passed.
In a district surrounded almost completely by water, this budget agreement also means strengthening the Coast Guard and defending our maritime borders. On Long Island, critical environment and scientific programs will receive the funding needed to safeguard our natural treasures and allow our community to remain a leader in the scientific community and provide our district with high-paying research and private sector jobs. Support will also be provided to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic, which is sweeping across Long Island and the rest of our country. There are so many positive wins in this budget agreement, which is why I supported its passage.
While the bill would have looked a little differently if I had drafted it all myself, I understand well that legislating is about compromise. Additionally, the current 60 vote threshold still required for now in the United States Senate adds an additional dynamic that cannot be ignored when setting expectations. Advocating for important funding that impacts the First Congressional District will always be a top priority. Protecting our national defense, funding our government, and fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities must always be our highest priority. These votes will probably never be unanimous with defectors on both sides of the aisle, and at times, that will include me, but ultimately supporting this particular legislation’s passage really was a no brainer. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress on so many other priorities that must be fulfilled to advocate on behalf of the greatest congressional district in America in the greatest nation in the world.”