Rep. Peters Praises Gun & School Safety, Border Sewage Clean Up, Defense Funds in Spending Bill
Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) helped pass a federal spending plan that boosts investment in San Diego priorities Peters has fought for since being elected to Congress. It increases the budget for the National Institutes of Health by $3 billion, gives our troops their largest pay raise in more than 10 years, and provides $10 million to address sewer spills along the Tijuana River. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, which appropriates Federal spending for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year, passed the House by a broad bipartisan vote of 256-167. Peters issued the following statement:
“The spending package passed today funds several critical priorities I’ve fought for since coming to Congress such as keeping our kids safer from gun violence, addressing sewer spills that have plagued San Diego’s border communities, and increased assistance for homeless men, women, and children,” said Peters.
“Earlier today, I opposed a procedural measure pushed by Speaker Ryan to deny a vote to give Dreamers the certainty they deserve. However, the Speaker’s measure to exclude a fix for Dreamers did pass over my objections; ultimately, I supported the overall spending package because of the many critical investments it makes in San Diego, in gun safety, and in our national defense.
“The important gun and school safety measures included in the bill are a first step toward keeping our communities and our children safe from gun violence. I have long supported the Fix NICS Act to improve background check reporting and am very pleased that Concealed Carry Reciprocity was struck out of the bill. I still believe strongly that we must do more,” he added.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity would have forced California to allow individuals to carry weapons without scrutiny by California law enforcement. The bill passed today also included the STOP Act which will provide schools in San Diego and around the country with money to improve security. In addition, it struck down the Dickey Amendment which for the past 20 years has banned the Centers for Disease Control from studying the public health effects of gun violence.
In addition to the priorities described above, the bill funded several other priorities the Congressman has fought for on behalf of San Diego. It protects wildfire prevention funds that in previous years were being robbed to pay for emergency fire suppression. This will allow communities to take steps to prevent wildfires before they happen. Wildfires cost the United States more than $10 billion in 2017, the most expensive year on record.
The bill also increases scientific and alternative energy research funding. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) received $47 million or 15 percent increase in its budget, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) received a $234 million or 4 percent increase, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) received a $1 billion or 5 percent increase. This funding will support critical research activities in San Diego and around the country. Peters has consistently rejected attempts to defund or cut funds for these agencies.
The spending plan includes $1.6 billion in border security for maintenance of existing structures, as well as investments in innovative border security technology, such as tunnel detection systems. Border Patrol requested this technology to stop drug and gun smugglers and human traffickers. Peters met with President Trump last year and urged him directly to spend border security funds on this technology instead of a wall.
- Increases funding for subway/light rail systems by $232 million.
- Provides a $1 billion increase for TIGER grants that have supported projects such as the expansion of the 10th Ave. Marine Terminal at the Port of San Diego.
- Reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration through the end of the fiscal year.
- Increases the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $7 billion, including an additional $2 billion for infrastructure investments.
- Provides $40 million in additional funding for the HUD-VASH program to support homeless veterans.
- Increases funding for Pell grants by $1.9 billion total, or by $175 dollars per recipient.
- Appropriates $3.2 billion to bolster efforts to combat opioid addiction.
- Supports Russia cyberattack investigation and election security funding by increasing the budget for the Federal Bureau of Investigation by $307 million.
- Provides $660 billion in total for the Department of Defense.
- Appropriates $8.1 billion for the EPA.