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Senator Lankford Supports Defense, Labor-HHS-Education Conference Committee Report 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement on Senate passage of the second appropriations conference committee report. The conference report passed by a vote of 93-7 and included Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019) funding for the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. Congress has now sent five funding bills to the President to sign into law. The conference report also included an extension to fund the remainder of the government through December 7, 2018.

“One bill at a time, Congress is finally getting back to a process to pass appropriations bills through a smaller, more manageable process than a mega omnibus bill,” said Lankford. “We cannot have another massive omnibus bill or continued threats of a government shutdown every year. I am pleased to see the Armed Services portion of the package includes funding for the KC-46 tankers, which are set to be delivered by the end of this year and pay raises for the military. I am disappointed that the final conference report on the Health and Human Services portion failed to include additional pro-life advancements. The Senate will continue to work to pass all appropriations bills before the end of the 2018 fiscal year deadline.”

The Department of Defense division of the conference report provides $674.4 billion to support pay raises for all military personnel. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies division of the conference report provides $178.1 billion to support medical research through National Institutes of Health (NIH) and opioid abuse prevention and treatment. 

Conference Report Highlights:

  • KC-46A tankers— tankers to be delivered to Altus Air Force Base later this year
  • Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense—many components are organized, trained, and equipped at the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill
  • F-16 Squadrons—provides support for F-16 squadrons with the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa
  • E-6 series—provides funding for E-6 series organization, training, and equipment activities at Tinker Airforce Base
  • MC-12—provides funding for the MC-12, which is currently assigned to the 137th Special Operations Wing out of Will Rogers Air National Guard Base
  • National Guard and Reserve—provides $1.3 billion in funding for the National Guard and Reserve equipment
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Reform—instructs the Social Security Administration to take specific steps to reduce the massive Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing backlog, improve the disability adjudication process, and update the medical vocational grid, which brings eligibility criteria into the 21st century
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Fraud Investigations—provides increased funding for disability fraud investigations, to ensure that those who truly need SSDI can receive it
  • Opioid Abuse Treatment—increases funding by $3.7 billion for opioid abuse, prevention, and treatment
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) Research—increases funding by $2 billion to advance groundbreaking disease research and medical treatment options
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) Transparency—ensures more transparency in National Institute of Health (NIH) spending to eliminate wasteful spending and ensure that tax dollars are only spent on research that promotes real scientific advancement
  • Charter Schools—provides $440 million in funding for charter schools
  • IDEA, Special Education funding—includes $13.2 billion in funding for Special Education funding 

On the Appropriations Committee, Senator Lankford serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, and he serves on the following Subcommittees: Energy and Water; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Homeland Security. 

Lankford also serves on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which is a bi-partisan, bi-cameral panel tasked with proposing a set of solutions to significantly overhaul the budget and appropriations process for the better.