WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) released the following statement regarding his support of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Minibus Appropriations government spending bill, which includes funding for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Legislative Branch, and for energy and water development. The bill was passed by the full U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 235 to 192.
“One of the most fundamental duties of the United States Congress is to ensure that our armed forces are capable of defending and protecting our nation. It is vital that we adequately support our defense and give our troops the tools they need to keep us safe. Further, we must be sure to fulfill our commitments to our veterans. For over two decades, I have consistently supported legislation that has strengthened our military and protected our veterans. This bill is no exception.
“There are many provisions in this minibus bill that I support. For example, it provides $10.8 million for a new Air Traffic Control Tower at Fort Benning, GA, which was the Army’s number one construction priority. It also provides adequate funding for the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and funds aquatic plant cleanup and research to help combat invasive weeds, such as the hydrilla that clogs our national waterways.
“Despite the good included in this bill, it is not perfect. Congress has not passed a budget resolution or set top-line spending numbers. Accordingly, this legislation runs the risk of starving out important non-defense programs that directly support our nation’s economic and social vibrancy. If we do not invest in the non-defense side of the budget, our nation will be weaker, and our military less able to do its job. We must have sound investments in our workforce, in education, and in health and nutrition. Such investments are not only essential to our military, but to our way of life as Americans.
“I voted in support of this legislation due to the needs of our veterans and service members. However, going forward, Congress must return to regular working order, a process that takes a holistic view of the federal budget and allows us to more responsibly invest in the needs of the American people.”