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U.S. Senate passes $1.3 trillion funding bill


Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill on a 65 to 32 vote late on Thursday night. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, voted to pass the legislation. Shelby claimed that the bill benefited our national defense and many other federal activities in Alabama.

“This measure will deliver the resources and certainty that the American military deserves, specifically the largest year-to-year increase in defense funding in 15 years,” Shelby said in a statement. “After a lack of investment to our nation’s Armed Services, Congress is working to strengthen our national defense. The legislation also contains a host of important victories on behalf of the American people, such as fighting the opioid epidemic, rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure, protecting the American people by securing the homeland, and safeguarding our students. I am proud that the Senate has passed this strong bill.”

The Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations legislation is a package of 12 annual appropriations bills for FY2018. Due to the extremely narrow 51-49 margin in the U.S. Senate, which is complicated further by Senator John McCain’s absence due to illness, the budget has to be negotiated in a bipartisan manner with the House and President Donald Trump also being involved in crafting the agreement.

“Through this appropriations measure, Alabama will receive significant funding for a number of priorities around the state,” Shelby added. “For example, this legislation strongly supports missile defense, space exploration, biomedical research, law enforcement, and provides funding to improve local infrastructure, among other included priorities. I am proud to pass this measure which provides Alabama with the funding needed to continue economic growth and future development. I look forward to seeing our state benefit from this robust bill.”

According to Shelby’s office, “The measure strengthens our national defense by making the largest investment in our Armed Forces since the beginning of the War on Terror. It provides a pay raise for the troops, funds new weapon systems, and invests heavily in measures designed to counter threats from ISIL and North Korea. Additionally, the legislation cares for our veterans by providing record level VA funding.”

The bill has also been approved by the House. It now goes to President Trump who is expected to sign the legislation.

Shelby is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS).

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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