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Lowey Files Conference Committee Bill to Keep Government Open, Fund Key Priorities

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) today filed the conference report on legislation that will keep the federal government open and fund key national priorities. The legislation, negotiated by a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee, is expected to be considered in the House on Thursday.

“We cannot repeat the disastrous government shutdown, so it is incumbent on Congress to come together to responsibly fund our government. This legislation represents a bipartisan compromise and will keep our government open while funding key priorities,” Chairwoman Lowey said. “This agreement denies funding for President Trump’s border wall and includes several key measures to make our immigration system more humane. It also rejects the President’s irresponsible budget cuts and instead invests in priorities that will strengthen our families, communities, and economy, like public safety, support for small businesses, environmental protection, transportation, housing and robust American global leadership.”

In addition to Homeland Security, the legislation reflects conference agreements for six other appropriations bills: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

The Homeland Security appropriations bill:

  • Denies President Trump the billions of dollars he demanded for a concrete wall, providing just $1.375 billion for bollard fencing with limitations to address community and environmental concerns.
  • Provides a path to a reduction in ICE detention beds, with an appropriated level for detention beds that establishes Congress’s intent to reduce the daily population in ICE detention to approximately 40,520 by the end of the fiscal year, down from a current count of approximately 49,060.
  • Promotes a more humane immigration system, with $415 million for enhanced medical support, transportation, food and clothing for migrants in detention, particularly children and families; $30.5 million for family case management; and an expansion in Alternatives to Detention participants from 82,000 to 100,000.
  • Funds smart, effective border security, including $564 million to install non-intrusive inspection equipment at ports of entry; $113 million for additional air and marine assets; $100 million for new border security technology; $77 million for opioid detection equipment; and $59 million for 600 new Customs officers.
  • Makes key investments in national security, including a new Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter – the first icebreaker in over 40 years – and an $884 million increase for the Transportation Security Administration.

In addition to the bipartisan compromise on Homeland Security, the other six appropriations bills make important investments in priorities that matter to the American people. Together they:

  • Deliver a 1.9% pay raise to federal civilian workers, overriding the President’s decision to deny them a pay raise.
  • Combat the Trump Administration’s assault on the Census, by investing $3.8 billion in the Census, an increase of $1 billion, to ensure a fair and accurate count.
  • Build safer communities, by including $3 billion for state and local law enforcement to keep communities safe, including by addressing the opioid crisis, closing sexual assault kit backlogs and hiring more police officers.
  • Rebuild America’s infrastructure, by providing $17 billion in funding for new infrastructure investments to improve our roads, bridges, highways, railways and mass transit.
  • Support small businesses, by restoring and increasing investments in job-creating initiatives for economic and business development, including for minority and women-owned businesses, that the Trump Administration tried to eliminate or slash;
  • Protect the environment, by blocking the Administration’s deep cuts to initiatives to protect clean water, clean air and public lands and investing a total of $9.3 billion in the EPA and Land and Water Conservation Fund;
  • Strengthen America’s global leadership, by rejecting the Trump Administration’s radical cuts and securing $9.1 billion in security assistance for our allies, $5.7 billion for PEPFAR and $1.7 billion for Food for Peace.

The text of the Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 31 is available here. The text of the Joint Explanatory Statement is available here. A division-by-division summary is available here.

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