Recently, I have been spending a lot of time in the House Appropriations Committee room, working with my colleagues to mark up the appropriations bills that will fund our government for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins on October 1st.
For those of you unfamiliar with this process, let me give a little recap.
Every year, Congress must pass twelve appropriations bills to keep the government funded for the next fiscal year. These bills begin in each of the twelve Appropriations Subcommittees, and then head to the full committee for a mark up, where the Members of the committee debate and amend the bill and determine whether it should be recommended to the House Floor for a vote.
The House and Senate each have their own process, and eventually the House and Senate versions are merged into one bill through the conference process, before heading to the President’s desk for signature.
So far, the full House Appropriations Committee has approved eight of the twelve appropriations bills, including the Legislative Branch bill that I oversaw. My Republican colleagues on the committee are focused on passing appropriations bills that rein in wasteful spending while ensuring our nation is safe and secure.
Each of the eight bills passed out of the House Appropriations Committee thus far contain major wins, which I will detail in this newsletter.
HONORING OUR NATION'S HEROES
The first bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee was the FY24 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which prioritizes our nation’s heroes and honors their sacrifices. Here are a few of the wins included in this bill:
- Fully funds veterans’ health care programs.
- Fully funds veterans’ benefits and VA programs.
- Provides care to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service.
- Provides almost $800 million above the President’s budget request for military construction and family housing.
As an Army veteran, and father of a Navy veteran, I am proud to ensure that our veterans get the medical treatment and benefits they deserve.
SUPPORTING OUR FOOD PRODCERS
The next bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee was the FY24 Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA Appropriations bill, which includes funding to support our farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and food security. Here are a few of the wins included in this bill:
- Reins in harmful regulations that dictate how poultry and livestock producers raise and market their animals.
- Provides sufficient funds to ensure the safety of food, drugs, and medical devices.
- Prevents the purchase of agricultural land by foreign adversaries.
- Repurposes billions of dollars from Democrats’ partisan bills to assist America’s producers and rural communities.
Communist China currently owns over 380,000 acres of American farmland. America cannot give China more control of our food supply, which is why I was especially proud to support the provision that will prevent adversaries like China from purchasing agricultural land.
SECURING THE BORDER
Up next was the FY24 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which provides funding to the Department of Homeland Security to secure our border, remove dangerous criminals, and bolster our national security. Here are a few of the biggest wins included in the bill:
- Includes funding for 22,000 more Border Patrol agents.
- Secures funding for the border wall and ensures funding for the wall is utilized.
- Increases the number of ICE detention beds to 41,500 to help end the Biden Administration’s catch and release policy.
- Prohibits paroled or otherwise inadmissible illegal aliens from being transferred into the interior of the country.
A big part of our job on the Appropriations Committee is to provide the resources required to keep our nation safe. The Biden Administration’s crisis at the southern border has continued for far too long, so I was proud to support this bill that invests in resources and strategies to secure the border and prevent migrants from illegally crossing into this country.
IMPROVING CONGRESS' EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS
As the Chairman of the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee, I led the committee mark up and passage of the FY24 Legislative Branch bill. This bill ensures that Congress remains open and working for the American people. Here are a few of the most standout provisions:
- Increases funding for recruiting, training, and retaining Capitol Police officers.
- Ensures adequate resources for Members to effectively serve their constituents.
- Maintains funding for committees of the House of Representatives, so they can hold the Biden Administration accountable by conducting vigorous oversight of the Executive Branch.
As we hear more and more about the alleged abuses of power committed by President Biden and his family, it has become more important than ever that the House of Representatives have the ability to keep a close eye on the actions of this Administration.
MAINTAINING A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE
House Appropriators then met to consider the FY24 Defense bill, which also passed through committee. This bill funds agencies and programs under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, including the Military Services, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Here are a few highlights:
- Ensures service members and their families have the support they need by funding a 5.2% pay raise for our service members.
- Counters Communist China by including funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which bolsters U.S. military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Innovates and modernizes the military by investing in next-generation fighter aircrafts, helicopters, tactical combat vehicles, and submarines.
- Enhances the DoD’s role in stopping illicit drugs from entering the country by increasing funding for train and equip programs to counter fentanyl and synthetic opioids and the transnational criminal organizations that contribute to the fentanyl crisis.
We are living in an increasingly dangerous world. China is rapidly modernizing, Russia is waging its war in Ukraine, and countries like Iran and North Korea continue their pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles. That’s why I was proud to pass a bill that sends a clear message to our adversaries that the U.S. military will have the tools it needs to win any fight!
PRIORITIZING ENERGY SECURITY
The House Appropriations Committee passed the FY24 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill, which makes historic investments to secure our energy independence and modernize water infrastructure projects nationwide. Here are a few key provisions:
- Provides funds for the production of critical minerals.
- Prohibits oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be sold to any entity owned by or under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or any other entity that intends to export to China.
- Invests in construction, operation, and maintenance of our nation’s ports and inland waterways to ensure goods can be moved safely to and from global markets.
As I’ve said before, our nation is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that can help meet our energy needs. Nevada, for example, is poised to serve our nation by delivering the lithium necessary for renewable energies, so I’m especially excited that this bill provides funding to responsibly develop these critical minerals.
COUNTERING CHINESE AGGRESSION
Last week, we passed the FY24 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill. This bill provides funds for the Department of State and American foreign policy programs around the world. Here are some major provisions included in this bill:
- Grants unwavering support for Israel and other key allies in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Jordan.
- Counters China’s malign influence by providing funding to promote our national security interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Provides funding for Taiwan to defend itself from China’s threats and aggression.
At a time when adversaries like China are becoming more aggressive, we must continue to support our national security interests and allies across the globe. This bill will help do just that.
SUPPORTING AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES
And finally, we passed the FY24 Financial Services and General Government bill, which funds a wide swath of federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Treasury. Here are the top wins included in this bill:
- Prevents the IRS from hiring tens of thousands of new agents.
- Protects American small businesses by prohibiting funding for expensive and heavy-handed regulations at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- Prohibits dozens of costly regulatory actions and ensures agencies remain focused on their core federal functions.
The last thing American families and businesses need right now are more audits from the IRS, so I was especially pleased that this bill would prevent the IRS from hiring more agents.
We still have four more bills to pass out of the House Appropriations Committee and all twelve must be passed by the full House, so we have a long way to go before the September 30th deadline.
Even though we have a lot of work ahead of us, I am excited and proud of the wins we’ve secured so far. Keep an eye out for my next newsletter to learn more about the other four appropriations bills.
Mark E. Amodei
Member of Congress