Rounds: Omnibus Bill Includes Important South Dakota Priorities, Adequately Funds Armed Forces
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement on the Senate passage of the omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, which he supported:
“While I continue to be frustrated with Washington’s broken budget process, I voted to support the omnibus because it includes a significant increase in military spending – the biggest increase since the War on Terror began. This increased funding will allow our armed forces to strengthen missile defense, fund new weapons systems and invest in measures to counter enemies such as ISIS and North Korea. It also includes a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops – the largest single-year increase in nearly a decade. Adequate funding of our military has been a top priority of mine since coming to the Senate, and I’m pleased this omnibus finally includes the necessary funding to begin to restore the damage that arbitrary budget caps and the threat of sequestration have done to our readiness capabilities.”
“In addition, this legislation includes a number of provisions that will benefit South Dakota families and the American people. South Dakotans will benefit from the bill’s measures that make new investments in our infrastructure, our border security, school safety and veterans’ care. It helps farmers by including a fix to Section 199A of the tax code to make certain co-ops and independent grain operators are on a level playing field. It also exempts livestock producers from onerous reporting requirements on livestock waste emissions, among other things. I’m pleased we were able to pass this legislation and avoid another short-term spending measure that essentially rubber stamps previous spending levels and destabilizes government programs, including our military.”
Highlights of the Legislation:
- $61 billion increase in defense spending, the largest single-year increase in 15 years.
- 2.4 percent pay increase for our troops.
- $1.6 billion in funding for construction of a border wall system, which is the amount requested by President Trump.
- $95 million in funding for LBNF and Dune, so the scientists at the Sanford Underground Research Lab in Lead can continue their important research on neutrinos and dark matter.
- $12 million for the Air National Guard facilities at Joe Foss Field to help them replace aging structures and construct a new aircraft maintenance facility.
- Delays the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rules for live-load truckers for the remainder of FY 2018.
- Provides a fix to section 199A of the tax code to protect producers and grain operators from unintended consequences of the recently-enacted tax reform law.
- Includes the FARM Act, which is legislation Rounds cosponsored earlier this year to exempt hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers and livestock markets from burdensome EPA reporting requirements on animal waste emissions.
- $81.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including an additional $2 billion for infrastructure programs to repair and enhance VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.
- Strengthens the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make certain federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report required criminal history records to NICS.
- Funds school security improvements and invests in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens.
- Provides nearly $4 billion to combat the opioid epidemic harming families in South Dakota and across America.
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