This bill — known as the Make America Secure Appropriations Act — combines four of the 12 annual appropriations bills into one piece of legislation, including funding for the Dept. of Defense (DOD), military & veterans affairs, energy & water development, and the legislative branch. The funding totals for each section of the bill would be as follows: $658.1 billion for the DOD; $88.8 billion for military construction & veterans affairs; $37.56 billion for energy & water development; and $3.58 billion for the legislative branch.
Dept. of Defense
This legislation would provide $658.1 billion for the DOD in fiscal year 2018. Of this, $584.2 billion would be discretionary funding — up $68.1 billion over the prior year — while $73.9 billion in funding would be provided for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) / Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
The OCO/GWOT funding would provide resources needed for preparation and operations to fight ongoing threats; including personnel requirements; operational needs; replacing aircraft losses; combat vehicle safety modifications; additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets;and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It would also provide critical support to allies such as Israel, Ukraine, and Jordan.
Military pay would total $138.3 billion under this bill, $5.3 billion of which for OCO/GWOT requirements with the rest going to base pay. That would support 1,324,000 active-duty troops and 822,900 Guard and Reserve troops. A 2.4 percent pay raise for the military would be fully funded.
Operation and maintenance funding would total $241 billion, of which $49 billion is for OCO/GWOT requirements. Base funding would be $24.1 billion above fiscal year 2017, with the increase aimed at filling readiness shortfalls to provide troops with training and equipment.
Research and development funding would total $84.3 billion, with $1.6 billion going to OCO/GWOT requirements. Base funding would be $10.3 billion more than fiscal year 2017. That funding would support research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, space security programs, the new Air Force bomber program the Ohio-class submarine replacement, Future Vertical Lift, the Israeli Cooperative Programs, and other research and development, like that done by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Equipment procurement and upgrades would total $149 billion — up $24.1 billion from the prior year — of which $16.5 billion would go to OCO/GWOT requirements. Base requirements would be $24.1 billion above fiscal year 2017. Some of the highlights include:
$21.5 billion for 11 Navy ships, including one carrier replacement, two guided missile destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, and three littoral combat ships.
$9.5 billion would go to providing 84 F-35 aircraft; $1.8 billion for 24 F-18 Super Hornet aircraft; $1.05 billion for 56 Black Hawk helicopters.
$1.09 billion for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks, $483 million for upgrades of 145 Bradley fighting vehicles, $348 million for upgrades of 116 Strykers, and $332 million for the Israeli Cooperative Programs.
Defense health and military family programs funding would total $34 billion, up $150 million from the prior year, for the Defense Health Program to provide care for troops, military families, and retirees. Of the total, $282 million would go to cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $277 million for sexual assault prevention and response.
Some of the savings that would be gained under this bill are $1.5 billion in savings from rescinding unused prior-year funding, $1 billion from lower-than-expected fuel costs, and $345 million due to favorable economic conditions.
Military Construction & Veterans Affairs
A total of $88.8 billion in discretionary funding would be authorized by this section of the bill — $6 billion more than what was authorized for fiscal year 2017 — of which $638 million would go to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounts for base construction.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) would receive $182.3 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $5.3 billion from fiscal year 2017. Discretionary funding makes up $78.3 billion of that total, up $3.9 billion from fiscal year 2017. Mandatory funding provides veteran disability compensation for 4.5 million veterans and their survivors, education benefits for 1 million veterans, and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 145,000 veterans.
VA medical care would total $69 billion to treat an estimated seven million patients in fiscal year 2018. Of that, funding would be broken down as follows:
$8.4 billion in mental healthcare services, $186 million for suicide prevention, $316 million for traumatic brain injury treatment.
$7.3 billion in homeless veterans treatment, services, housing, and job training; $751 million for hepatitis C treatment; $50 million for opioid abuse prevention.
$250 million for rural health initiatives.
To speed up the process of reducing the VA’s disability claims backlog (about 312,000 veterans), $50 million in funding above the president’s budget request would be provided to be used on the scanning of health records and overtime pay. The bill would also continue existing reporting requirements that track each regional office’s performance on claims processing and appeals backlogs.
The VA’s electronic health record system would be modernized using $65 million set aside by this bill to use an identical electronic record system as the DOD. Major and minor construction at VA facilities would be funded at $753 million, which includes money for the construction of new facilities and the expansion of cemeteries that are reaching capacity before 2022.
Advance appropriations for fiscal year 2019 would also be provided by this bill, including $70.7 billion for veterans’ medical programs and $107.7 billion for mandatory benefit programs.
Military construction projects would receive $10.2 billion in funding, an increase of $2.1 billion above fiscal year 2017, with $638 million in OCO funding for projects in countries with ongoing U.S. operations. This would fund operational facilities, training facilities, hospitals, family housing, National Guard readiness centers, and barracks among other resources. A total of 215 military constructions projects in the U.S. and overseas would be funded.
Some of the highlights of the military construction funding include:
Military Family Housing: $1.4 billion to build, operate, and maintain military family housing, an increase of $131 million above fiscal year 2017, which currently serves a total of 1,388,028 military families.
Military Medical Facilities: $737 million for construction and alterations at new or existing military medical facilities, up $433 million from fiscal year 2017. There 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries of the care provided at these facilities.
DOD Education Facilities: $249 million for safety improvements and infrastructure work at four DOD Education Activities facilities in the U.S. and overseas.
Guard and Reserve: $575 million for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in 22 states.
NATO Security Investment Program: $178 million, the same amount as fiscal year 2017, for infrastructure needed for wartime, crisis, peace support and deterrence operations, and training requirements. The funding would assist NATO’s response to challenges from Russia and threats coming from the Middle East and North Africa.
Guantanamo Bay: $115 million would go to building two new barracks to house service members stationed at Guantanamo Bay. The bill would also prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and prohibit funding for any facility in the U.S. to house detainees.
Energy and Water Development
This bill would provide $37.56 billion for the Dept. of Energy (DOE), Army Corps of Engineers, and national defense nuclear weapons activities — a reduction of $209 million from the previous year and $3.24 billion above the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2018.
Funding for nuclear security would total $13.9 billion — up $976 million over last year — of which $10.2 billion would go to maintaining the military’s nuclear deterrent, $1.4 billion for naval nuclear reactors, and $1.8 billion for nuclear nonproliferation. Included in the nonproliferation funding would be $340 million to build a facility for disposing of surplus plutonium).
The Army Corps of Engineers would receive $6.16 billion for fiscal year 2018, up $120 million from the prior year and $1.16 billion more than the president’s budget request. Of the total, $2.8 billion would go to navigation projects and studies, while $1.8 billion would fund flood and storm damage reduction activities.
Energy programs within the DOE would receive $9.6 billion in funding, a decrease of $1.7 billion from the prior year and $2.3 billion above the president’s budget request. Research and development related to coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil fuels would be funded with $635 million, down $33 million from the prior year. Nuclear energy research would receive $969 million, a reduction of $48 million from fiscal year 2017. Renewable energy programs would be cut by $986 million from the previous year at a level $468 million higher than the president’s budget.
Other provisions that would be funded under this section include:
Science research would receive $5.4 billion in funding, the same amount as fiscal year 2017, which would be focused on next generation energy sources and high-performance computing systems.
The Bureau of Reclamation would receive $1.24 billion for managing, developing, and protecting water resources in western states.
The Yucca Mountain nuclear repository would be supported with $90 million for its Nuclear Waste Disposal program, $30 million for Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal, and $30 million for the continued adjudication fo DOE’s Yucca Mountain License application.
Other policy items that would be enacted under this section include:
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Secretary of the Army would be authorized to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule.
The Clean Water Act’s application would be restricted in certain agricultural areas, such as farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
The possession of firearms on Corps of Engineers lands would be permitted.
New nuclear nonproliferation projects in Russia would be prohibited without notifications from the Secretary of Energy.
This bill would provide $3.58 billion for the House and joint operations of Congress (excluding Senate-only items) for fiscal year 2018, $100 million more than 2017 but $228 million less than the president’s request.
House operations would be funded with $1.194 billion for the pay of members and their staffs, leadership, committees, and Officers of the House — $5 million more than last year to enhance security for members when they’re away from the Capitol complex and cybersecurity enhancements. Pay would remain frozen for members Congress, as it has been since 2010.
Capitol Police would be funded at $422.5 million, an increase of $29.2 from the prior year, which provides for the security of members, staff, and visitors of the Capitol. The increase would fund additional training, equipment, and technology-related support.
Among the other items funded by this section are:
Architect of the Capitol: $577.8 million would be provided, an increase of $48.4 million from the year prior to fund health and safety improvement projects to protect members, staff, and visitors.
Library of Congress: $648 million would be provided, an increase of $16 million from the prior year that would fund information technology modernization within the Library, the Copyright Office, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The public would have access to all non-confidential CRS reports.
Government Accountability office (GAO): $568 million would be provided, $450 thousand above the prior year to continue the GAO’s work of providing Congress with accurate, nonpartisan reporting of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent.