WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released this statement after voting in favor of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895 – Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act:
“I am encouraged that we have finally completed a small fraction of the appropriations bills for FY2019. The legislation passed today invests in our nation’s veterans and prioritizes the safety of all Americans by funding pivotal energy and water projects. The MilCon-VA portion of this legislation provides the highest dollar amount to the Department of Veterans Affairs, ever, including $72.3 billion for VA Medical Care. H.R. 5895 appropriates the funding needed to speed up the claims process for veterans, to ensure our heroes receive the benefits they have earned as quickly as possible. We must continue to rebuild our military infrastructure; this bill also provides the funding necessary to upgrade facilities on bases around the world to allow for better training to counter the challenges posed by our adversaries.
“I understand the importance of investing in our infrastructure; this bill provides a much-needed influx of funds into our nation’s water resources infrastructure by providing funding for navigation projects, flood and storm damage reduction activities, and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. These dollars are needed to dredge the channels that are filling in along many of the creeks that line our major tidal rivers – including ones in the First District. Finally, H.R. 5895 prioritizes our national security; specifically, by allocating $1.79 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors to support the Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet, including Columbia-Class Ballistic Missile Submarines. These submarines are made right here in Virginia and are the future of our underwater fleet.
“I am proud of what we accomplished today, but here is still so much more to be done - including funding our nation’s military. However, there is little time remaining. I believe bringing accountability to the budget and appropriations process should be our priority. I have long advocated that the House complete our spending bills on time—and that included staying through August to complete this unfinished work. Yet again we find ourselves rushing to complete the work of the people. No matter the circumstances, I look forward to working with my colleagues to complete the remaining FY19 appropriations bills.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.