New Jersey Wins in Three Bill Spending Package Approved by Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House of Representatives gave bipartisan approval to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen’s three-bill Appropriations “minibus” funding bill.  The House approved the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895, by a vote of 377 to 20, sending the measure to the President’s desk. Included in the package is funding for the Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

“These key funding bills provide funding for some of the most important federal responsibilities, including national defense, care of our veterans, key infrastructure improvements and scientific discovery,” said Frelinghuysen.

This marks the first time in more than 10 years that Congress has sent more than one Appropriations bill to the President’s desk prior to the end of the fiscal year, representing a significant effort championed by Congressman Frelinghuysen, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, to return to “regular order”.

The Conference Report includes many provisions that are important to New Jersey:

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs:

The FY 2019 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations section of the legislation includes a total of $98.1 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $5.3 billion above FY18, to support care and benefits our veterans earned and provides resources for our service members and their families. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs, $86.5 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $5 billion from FY 2018.
  • Provides $72.3 billion to support VA medical care for 7 million patients, including the VA Medical Centers at Lyons and East Orange and the Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Morris Township and Newton.
  • Supports VA Homeless Assistance Programs by providing $1.8 billion, an increase of $60 million from FY 2018 to support organizations likeCommunity Hope in Parsippany, who serve thousands of homeless and at-risk veterans in New Jersey.
  • Funds new construction at New Jersey’s largest military bases, Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL).  Specifically, $41 million is provided to build a “Munitions Disassembly Complex” at Picatinny and $10.2 million is provided to replace a “Hot Cargo Hydrant System” at JMBDL.

Energy and Water Development:

The FY 2019 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations portion of this bill totals $44.6 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion above FY18, providing vital funding for national defense nuclear weapons activities, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of Energy (DOE) programs including research conducted in New Jersey. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Includes $7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, an increase of $172 million above FY18, which supports flood prevention and mitigation efforts in our state, and keeps our local port, the New York-New Jersey harbor, open for business.
  • Requires the Army Corps to update Congress regularly on its flood prevention efforts along the Passaic River Basin Mainstem, the Peckman River and the Rahway River. Continuing this work is essential for towns across New Jersey, some of which have very recently experienced devastating flooding. 
  • Invests $2 billion to reduce flood and storm damage across the nation including $5 million for construction of the Green Brook Sub-Basin flood control project and $668,000 for monitoring of the Passaic River Flood Warning System.
  • Provides $6.6 billion within the Department of Energy for science research, an increase of $325 million above FY18 to support basic and advanced energy research to promote our energy future and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
  • Funds fusion energy science at $564 million, an increase of $32 million above FY18 and $224 million above the President’s request.  This funding supports the work of New Jersey’s Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.
  • Invests in protecting our nation’s electric grid from cyber-attacks by providing $120 million, an increase of $24 million above FY18, to strengthen grid security.

Legislative Branch:

The FY 2019 Legislative Branch Appropriations division provides $4.8 billion in funding for the operations of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Includes $456 million for the Capitol Police, an increase of $30 million, to enhance the safety and security of the Capitol Complex for the thousands of guests who visit every day.
  • Dedicates funding for paid internships (up to $20,000 per Member office), providing greater opportunities to young people who wish to serve our nation.
  • Supports the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library, by providing $696 million in funding and includes $2.4 million for the Veterans History Project.