TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018,” and appreciates the efforts of Republicans and Democrats to ensure the federal government remains fully funded and functional. The Chamber will consider including votes on, or related to, this legislation, including on the Rule, in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
In particular, the Chamber strongly supports the increased investment in several infrastructure programs, including highways, public transportation, aviation, and drinking water. This down payment would clear the path for a more comprehensive infrastructure modernization bill that we hope the House and Senate can complete before the end of this summer.
The Chamber applauds provisions expanding resources to fight the scourge of opioid abuse. These funds are desperately needed to help states and communities strengthen treatment, prevention, recovery, and law enforcement efforts as federal, state, and local governments and the private and non-profit sectors work together to stem—and ultimately reverse—this epidemic.
The Chamber also applauds provisions of the bill that would reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission for the first time in nearly three decades, and which would help create a path forward for the private sector to deploy 5G wireless technology.
Important provisions of the bill based on the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act would modernize regulations dealing with privacy and law enforcement access to data and enhance cooperation between the United States and other governments to create cross-border access to data agreements.
H.R. 1625 would also reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through July 31. While this short term extension should provide Congress an opportunity to pursue a viable, long-term extension of the NFIP, the continuity of this critical program is paramount. The Chamber strongly opposes any efforts that would allow this program to lapse while a long-term solution is being negotiated.
The Chamber appreciates additional funding for workforce-related programs, child care and early childhood programs, and Title I ESSA grants. However, this additional funding does not replace the compelling need to reauthorize both the Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act. We urge the House and Senate to complete work on reauthorizing both this year.
The Chamber is disappointed that the final legislation does not include several important policy-related provisions, among the many of which include the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and critical provisions to stabilize health insurance premiums in the coming years. We look forward to working with Congress on these and many other important issues in the coming months.
Once again, the Chamber supports H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.”
Neil L. Bradley