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Collins joins House in approving $1.3 trillion funding bill

Staff Reports Posted 22 March 2018 at 3:30 pm

Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, voted in favor of a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which will  keep the government from a shutdown.

The vote was 256-167. The legislation includes providing the nation’s troops their biggest pay raise in eight years as a part of the biggest increase in defense spending in the past 15 years, Collins said.

“This bill makes historic investments in the brave men and women who protect our nation by correcting the mistakes of the Obama administration by providing the military with the resources they need,” Collins said. “Hardworking Americans can be assured that Congress is spending taxpayer dollars wisely to make sure our children can feel safe in their schools, our towns and cities have sound infrastructure, and we are closing gaps in security at our borders.”

The legislation includes funding for President Trump’s opioid campaign to combat drug abuse and the Fix NCIS bill to close loopholes in background checks for gun purchases. A total of $1.6 billion was allocated to begin building a wall along the southern border over the next six months, Collins said.

The funding package includes a provision echoing Collins’ legislation to create a federal database of broadband infrastructure that would make it easier for carriers to build out in rural areas.

Congressman Collins has been an advocate for the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics, which was given $75 million in the funding package to continue its groundbreaking research.  The legislation also extends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2018, while keeping in place pilot training requirements enacted after the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Clarence.

Additionally, Collins said the bill gives the Trump administration the ability to increase the number of H-2B visas available for temporary farm workers based on the needs of the nation. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) received full funding to protect the lakes from environmental threats.

“While this legislation is good for Western New York, it also sets the United States on a path toward a safer, stronger America,” Collins said.  “Key priorities of Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are represented in this package and I applaud its passage as we work to get America back on track.”

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