(Washington, D.C.)  Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) supported the passage of the Omnibus spending bill that will fund the government through September 30, 2017. Dent applauded the funding levels for key programs in the bill as well as the important policy riders that were included.

“This spending bill moves our country forward in a number of important areas,” said Dent. “It boosts funding for our military, provides a much needed pay increase to our troops, adds funding for medical research and enhances border security,” Dent stated.

Of particular impact is the nearly $600 billion dollars in spending for the military contained in the bill – $20 billion dollars more than the funding level set in 2016.

“This infusion of funds arrives at a critical time for our military. The branches of our military are stretched thin and they are on guard against many threats.  Basic readiness and maintenance were suffering due to previous funding levels,” noted Congressman Dent.

Dent also hailed the troop pay increase included in the bill. Armed Forces members will see a 2.1 percent raise in their pay as opposed to the 1.6 percent increase requested by the Obama Administration. Dent called the increase “much deserved and overdue but finally, delivered.” 

The Congressman praised the additional funding directed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to combat the national opioid crisis. “Two billion more dollars than was previously budgeted will be directed to the NIH for everything from research to fight Alzheimer’s to combatting antibiotic resistant bacteria. Additionally the drive to find cures for the killer diseases that claim so the lives of so many Americans has been greatly advanced by this measure,” Dent stated. 

There’s also $3.6 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) efforts to provide treatment and addiction recovery programs as America continues to suffer through an opioid abuse crisis. “The wave of opioid abuse and heroin addiction has rocked communities across the country, including in the 15th District. We boosted funding by $130 million over the request to deal with this scourge.”

Dent also approved of the bolstered spending for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We’ve increased funding for CBP and ICE by nearly $700 million dollars to fund more Border Agents, increase high-tech security measures along the border and to increase detention bed space. All of these measures will further strengthen America’s border security and decrease illegal immigration,” the Congressman observed.

The bill passed with strong bipartisan support 309-118.

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