News Releases

Friday, September 21, 2018

Isakson Applauds Signing of First Government Funding Bill into Law

Legislation to fund Veterans’ Affairs, energy, water, military construction; Includes funding for ‘VA MISSION Act,’ Savannah Harbor Expansion Project

ATLANTA – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today applauded the president on signing the first funding bill for fiscal year 2019 into law ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline. The measure includes funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs – including funding for Isakson’s landmark VA MISSION Act – as well as for energy and water infrastructure, military construction, and other areas.

The measure, H.R.5895, continues the prohibition on a cost-of-living-adjustment for members of Congress that has been in place since 2009. It also includes an Isakson-supported measure to provide for the electronic filing of financial disclosure forms, which members of the Senate are required to complete annually, improving transparency and speed.

“Earlier this year, the president signed our landmark VA MISSION Act into law, and the funding bill he signed today will help continue the implementation of this legislation. I’m dedicated to seeing this landmark reform implemented as quickly as possible – and as Congress intended – to ensure the best care for our veterans,” said Isakson.  

“This new law includes needed funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue work on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. It also aids our service members at Georgia military installations and their families, and strengthens our nuclear security position.

“I’m pleased to see the Senate continue to work through our government funding measures on time and through regular order to help ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars,” Isakson added.

Additional Isakson-supported provisions and highlights included in the agreement are below.

Veterans’ Affairs
The measure provides $86.5 billion to support veterans’ health care and benefits, medical and prosthetic research, the National Cemetery Administration, information technology, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Inspector General.

The measure includes an additional $1.75 billion for medical services and medical community care accounts to support VA’s traditional community care programs as well as to transition to the Veterans Community Care Program as established in the VA MISSION Act.

VA Office of the Inspector General
The measure includes a bipartisan measure cosponsored by Isakson that supports the independence of the VA Inspector General and prohibits the use of funds to deny the VA Inspector General access to any records, documents or other materials. This office is responsible for investigating misconduct and waste of taxpayer money.

Electronic Health Records
The measure provides $1.1 billion for the Veterans Electronic Health Record system and management to support the ongoing integration of VA and Department of Defense records to improve the efficiency and quality of veterans’ health care.

Military Construction
The measure provides $10.3 billion, an increase of $241 million from last year, to facilitate maximum readiness and warfighting capability by funding 167 construction projects on military bases within the United States and around the globe. The measure also funds construction of national defense facilities, family housing and military hospitals and schools.

This funding includes cyber instructional facility funding for Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., and funding for a Reserves training center at Fort Benning in Columbus. It also provides funding for upgrades and other projects at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Energy and Water
The measure provides resources to strengthen the U.S. nuclear deterrence program, ensure nuclear stockpile readiness and safety and prepare for existing and future nuclear threats. The measure also provides record level funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science and programs that spur greater innovation in energy research, high-performance computing and next-generation technologies. 

Water Infrastructure
The measure provides $6.84 billion to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. These funds include $49 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project with the possibility of additional funding to help keep this critical project on track and ensure the viability of national and regional ports and waterways.

The measure also provides necessary funding to improve and maintain flood control projects.