Bustos Helps Pass Bipartisan Bill to Fund Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, Energy and Water Development, and the Legislative Branch

Bill includes funding for Peoria Air National Guard’s new firehouse

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos voted to help pass a bipartisan bill to fund Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and the Legislative Branch for fiscal year 2019. While the passage of this bill does not completely avert the threat of a government shutdown at the end of the month, its passage does eliminate one important hurdle while ensuring funding for our veterans and other important programs are addressed.

This bill also includes $9 million in funding for the 182nd Airlift Wing’s fire house project. These funds will be utilized to build a new firehouse at the base which will serve the Peoria International Airport.

“I’m pleased that we were able to work across party lines to pass a bipartisan bill that supports our veterans, funds vital energy programs and makes meaningful investments to address the opioid crisis,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I am also very pleased that we are providing $9 million to move ahead with the 182nd Airlift Wing’s new fire house. I am hopeful that when Congress comes back at the end of the month, we will be able to continue working across the aisle to complete the Farm Bill and pass all of the outstanding funding packages so we can prevent a government shutdown.”

Background details about today’s appropriations bill:

Increases Funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The conference report provides $2.38 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs in the Department of Energy to support the development of clean, renewable, and energy efficiency technologies across the country. The conference reports reverses a House cut of $243 million and provides $57 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.

Supports Advanced Energy Technology Research and Development

The conference report provides $366 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technology. The conference report reverses a House cut of $28 million, rejects President Trump’s proposed elimination of the agency, and provides $12.7 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.

Improves VA Infrastructure

The conference report provides the second installment of $2 billion for VA infrastructure needs. The funding includes $800 million for Medical Facilities for non-recurring maintenance, $750 million for seismic improvements, $300 million for Major Construction, and $150 million for Minor Construction.

Expands Opioid Prevention and Treatment for Veterans

The conference report provides $348 million for opioid treatment and prevention programs and $52 million to continue to implement opioid safety initiatives outlined as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, as well as to develop programs aimed at ensuring that non-VA providers treating veterans through community care programs are informed and in compliance with all VA standards for opioid safety and prescription guidelines.

Creates New Compensation for House Interns

The conference report provides $8.8 million in a new dedicated funding stream for Member’s offices to pay interns. Each Member’s office may use $20,000 of that money to pay interns over the course of the calendar year. Interns paid through this account do not count against the limit on paid employees.