e-News 3/23/2018

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill Supports New Jersey Priorities

The House of Representatives has given final legislative approval to a package of 12 appropriations bills to provide funding for the federal government for the 2018 fiscal year, including many programs of importance to New Jersey. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I led the debate as the House passed the measure yesterday. The Senate has approved  the “Omnibus” legislation and the President has signed it into law. 

The Omnibus Appropriations bill funds important domestic and international programs that help our economy grow, keep our people safe and preserve America’s leadership across the globe.   

The legislation provides $1.3 trillion in discretionary funding for all 12 annual appropriations bills, including over $654 billion for the Department of Defense - $589.5 billion in base defense spending and $65 billion for the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency funding.  This represents the largest investment in 15 years and will continue efforts to rebuild our Armed Forces after years of damage done under the previous Administration. This funding provides our warfighters with the resources they need to win the fight and return home safely and fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for our troops and their families!

Global security threats are growing and evolving which creates ever-increasing risk for our men and women on the front lines. We must stop asking them to continue to do more with less. This bill continues the rebuilding of our Armed Forces in order to ensure the effectiveness and safety of our men and women in uniform.The Omnibus also directs funding to critical domestic priorities:

  • Provides the largest investment ever to combat the opioid crisis, a national public health emergency, including robust funding for treatment, prevention and law enforcement programs that stop the spread of these dangerous drugs and help families and communities get the assistance they need;
  • Helps keep our children safe in school by targeting more than $2.3 billion in new funding to effective mental health, training and school safety efforts at the Departments of Justice, Education and Health and Human Services;
  • Rebuilds America’s aging infrastructure by investing an additional $22 billion for infrastructure projects across the country, including energy, water, cyber and transportation;

It is noteworthy that the Omnibus also includes many provisions of interest to families, municipalities, businesses and schools in New Jersey:

Department of Defense:

  • The package provides over $130 million in funding to the Armaments Research Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County as a result of a recent study conducted under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).  The OSD study identified specific areas of concern including loss of weapons range overmatch, effects of enemy countermeasures to global positioning system (GPS), and the proliferation of low-cost commercially available unmanned aerial systems.  This bill provides the funding to allow the experts at Picatinny to advance the capabilities of our Armed Forces as quickly as possible.
  • In addition to providing operations and maintenance monies for every New Jersey military installation, the bill also provides $2.4 billion for another 15 KC-46 aircraft – the new airborne tanker that will be stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The funding for New Jersey’s Joint Base is an endorsement of the installation’s current and future military value. Ensuring that the proper resources are available to conduct successful missions from New Jersey is vital.
  • The bill provides an additional $10 million to allow the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to hasten their critical work of recovering the remains of military personnel lost in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and includes an additional $5 million for “public-private partnerships” to accelerate DPAA’s partnerships with universities who perform important forensic work.
  • The bill significantly increases the size of a special account used by the National Guard and Reserve to procure equipment to maintain readiness in key weapon systems and help close equipment interoperability gaps with the active Army and Air Force.  The National Guard Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) is funded at $1.3 billion, up 30 percent from current levels.

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs:

  • Includes $185.4 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including $68.8 billion for veterans health care, which is $4.2 billion over FY 2017, $8.4 billion for veterans mental health, $196 million for suicide prevention outreach and $7.3 billion for homeless veteran programs like the program at Lyons-VA.
  • Provides over $157 million to upgrade facilities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to help JBMDL prepare for the arrival of the Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker, providing funding for a new hanger and training facility.

Transportation-Housing and Urban Development:

  • Total rail resources are $3.1 billion which is $1.2 billion above last year.  This is the most significant rail investment in a decade. With a particular focus on rail infrastructure and safety, the bill includes $250M for Positive Train Control (PTC) grants.
  • Provides $834 million in new funds for transit formula grants, for which New Jersey is eligible.
  • Provides significant funding for critical Northeast Corridor rail infrastructure with $250 million in the Rail State of Good Repair account and $650M in the Amtrak Northeast Corridor account. These funds are available to start construction of critical projects including the Gateway Project.
  • The bill provides the highest ever annual level of Transit capital investment funding with a total of $2.6 billion, which will support significant investments in New Jersey Transit priorities, including new tunnels under the Hudson River.
  • The legislation also provides $505 million for Section 811 housing vouchers for non-elderly, disabled persons, an increase of $385 million from current levels, providing an increase of 40,000 vouchers.  These “Frelinghuysen Vouchers” provide new housing opportunities for persons with disabilities.
  • The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program is funded at $3.3 billion, $300 million above current levels. CDBG is a flexible program that provides communities in New Jersey with resources to address a wide range of unique community needs.

Homeland Security:

  • The Urban Area Security Initiative, which assists high-threat, high-density urban areas like the New Jersey-New York Metropolitan Region in efforts to build and sustain the capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, is funded at $630 million. 
  • Just as in the original House bill, I made sure that the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is increased by $25 million to a total of $50 million. Nonprofit Security Grants provide funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofits, including faith based organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. Synagogues, Jewish Community Centers and schools, including several in New Jersey, were targeted over the past year in a series of bomb threats. 
  • The bill also includes $350 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and $350 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants which provide critical funding to NJ firefighters.


  • Includes full funding for the Chemical Safety Board, a program slated for elimination by the Administration.
  • Under this legislation, the key Environmental Protection Agency’sDrinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds are funded at $2.9 billion. 
  • A $66 million increase in the Superfund hazardous waste clean-up program.  New Jersey has more Superfund sites than any other state.
  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund is slated for $425 million, including $10 million in FY 2018 for the federal Highlands Conservation Act (HCA).  The measure also reauthorizes open space preservation from willing sellers under Frelinghuysen’s HCA. A major source of drinking water and in the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country, the Highlands is a critical area in need of protection.
  • Authorizes the addition of 100 acres of land to Morristown National Historical Park from willing sellers or donators.
  • The National Heritage Areas program, which the Administration had proposed to eliminate, is increased by $500,000 over the FY 2017 funding level of $19.8 million, supporting the Crossroads of the American Revolution Area in New Jersey.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are both increased to $153 million.  The Administration had proposed to terminate both programs.

State-Foreign Operations:

  • Continues the limitation on assistance for any country, such as Cuba, that refuses to extradite to the United States any individual indicted for a serious criminal offense.  Joanne Chesimard, the convicted killer of a New Jersey State Trooper, has been harbored by Cuba for decades.

Labor-Health and Human Services:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding is increased by $3 billion to a total of $37 billion, supporting research at universities and other institutions throughout New Jersey, such as 2017 grantees St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Atlantic Health System in Morristown, and Kessler Foundation in West Orange.  The bill contains a targeted increase of $300 million at NIH to support Cancer Moonshot which increases support for New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designatedComprehensive Cancer Center, the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
  • Provides $9.86 billion for Head Start, supporting our local Head Start programs.
  • Funds Pell Grants at $22.5 billion and maintains the current “year round” Pell Grant award at $6,095 to assist students attending colleges and universities throughout our state.
  • Community Health Centers- funding of $5.4 billion, a substantial increase over current levels.  Local health centers include the Zufall Health Centers in Dover, Morristown and West Orange.

Energy and Water Development:

  • Includes strong funding for the Army Corps of Engineers of $6.83 billion for projects that are vital to New Jersey to protect people, businesses, and infrastructure from damages caused by floods and coastal storms.  The Army Corps’ work also ensures our ports and waterways are able to move cargo and bulk goods around the country and keeps the Port of New York and New Jersey open for business after completing the Harbor Deepening Project last year.
  • Funding for the Office of Science is increased by $900 million for a total of $6.35 billion.  The money is used to keep the national laboratories, including Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, at the forefront of global scientific discovery. 

Financial Services-General Government:

  • Provides over $700 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to promote opportunities for American small businesses, including those in New Jersey, to begin, grow, and prosper. 
  • $130 million will go to Small Business Development Centers(SBDC), supporting the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) network which is committed to guiding established small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to create and expand their business enterprises.  The NJSBDC network includes 12 centers across New Jersey: NJSBDC at William Paterson University (Passaic County), NJSBDC at Rutgers Newark (Essex County) and NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey (Morris and Sussex County).
  • SBA Women Business Centers will receive $18 million in funding to support organizations like the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Chatham, Morris County to help elevate women to business success through education, counseling, mentoring and entrepreneurial training. 


  • $492 million in funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs. VAWA grants are critical to our State to support services and programs in response to domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA grants provide support to organizations like the Jersey Battered Women Service.
  • The CJS section also provides $47.5 million to promote progress in reducing the backlog of untested sexual assault kits. These grants provide resources to process test kits, train law enforcement personnel, while providing justice and resolution to the victims of sexual assault.


  • The measure also supports a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program, the Continuous Manufacturing Initiative, for institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations which are working to transform pharmaceutical production.  The goal is to develop new technologies to replace the pharmaceutical industry’s century-old batch processing methods, which will benefit patients and healthcare providers.
  • The Committee also directs the Agricultural Research Service to continue researching the cultural needs of blueberries and cranberries including genetic improvements to increase genetic diversity and improve resistance to various disease and insects.

These investments are made responsibly. In each of the titles within this package, we have found savings, gotten rid of waste, fraud and duplication, and increased oversight to ensure that no taxpayer dollar is misspent.

To watch my House floor statement, please visi here:

To read my statement, please visit here:

The read a summary of each bill in the Omnibus Appropriations package, please visit here:

To read the text of the Omnibus Appropriations Act and their accompanying reports, please visit: