Home Schools, safety, security: U.S. House passes second government funding bill for fiscal year 2024
Politics, U.S. & World News

Schools, safety, security: U.S. House passes second government funding bill for fiscal year 2024

Rebecca Barnabi
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The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, also known as the “Schools, Safety, and Security Funding Package,” seeks to address rising costs, protect the middle class, safeguard reproductive freedoms, reinforce America’s global leadership and help keep American communities safe.

Six bipartisan appropriations bills are included to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2024. The bills will fund the Department of Defense; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

The bipartisan government funding package passed on a vote of 286 to 134. Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, who represents Virginia’s District 4, voted in favor of the legislation.

“After six months of Republican dysfunction, gridlock, and infighting, the House finally passed the necessary appropriations bills to fund the government through the end of the Fiscal Year,” McClellan said. “Republicans’ inability to govern brought us to the brink of a government shutdown five times. Every time, House Democrats delivered the necessary votes to protect our economy and keep our government functioning. We were successful in our opposition to House Republicans’ poison pill policy riders and successful defeated policies that would dismantle Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, discriminate against LGBTQI+ people, and restrict reproductive freedom.”

Notable provisions of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act include:

  • Department of Defense: prioritizes military families by increasing pay by 5.2 percent, the Basic Allowance for Housing by 5.4 percent, and the Basic Allowance for Subsistence by 1.7 percent; maintains the Department of Defense’s travel policy to ensure servicemembers and their families can access reproductive health care; and rejects Republicans’ attempts to slash investments in climate mitigation.

  • Financial Services and General Government: invests in small businesses and entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration and Community Development Financial Institutions; supports federal workers with a 5.2 percent pay increase for federal workers; and rejects Republicans’ attempts to limit competition and reduce the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ability to monitor markets for fraud and insider training.

  • Homeland Security: makes investments in border security, such as increasing funding making investments in border security and increasing funding to support necessary processing capacity, medical care and child-wellbeing support; increases funding for all Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel by more than $1 billion; provides funding for the safe reunification of families unjustly separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump Administration; and rejects Republicans’ calls for funding to construct an ineffective border wall.

  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies:  increases funding for Child Care and Head Start by $1 billion; bolsters funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health; maintains critical investments for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and investments to address major health crises like maternal mortality, mental health, gun violence, and more; and rejects Republicans’ attempts to cut funding for Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies and instead increases funding for high-poverty schools.

  • Legislative Branch: maintains Members Representational Allowances to recruit and retain talented and diverse legislative staff; continues congressional internships for interested students and graduates; and supports the Library of Congress’ Visitor Experience Center to modernize the institutions.

  • State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: secures $10 billion for Global Health initiatives; restores $3.3 billion to meet our treaty obligations; supports the operations of U.S. Embassies, diplomats and developments workers; allocates $8.9 billion for international security assistance to allies and partners; and provides $8.7 billion in humanitarian assistance under the accounts Migration and Refugee Assistance, U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance and International Disaster Assistance.

“Republicans proposed draconian cuts and devastating policy riders that would harm the American people and make their lives more difficult. House Democrats fought back and defeated them,” McClellan said. “These bills represent a strong bipartisan compromise and will ensure our government can continue its critical work on behalf of the American people.”

Earlier in March, Rep. McClellan voted to pass a funding package of six appropriations bills to fund government agencies through Fiscal Year 2024. That package included more than $15 million in Community Project Funding for local projects and priorities in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on March 9, 2024.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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