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Wicker, Hyde-Smith vote for defense spending bill

Photo by News Mississippi

Mississippi’s U.S. Senators have voted in favor of the latest appropriations bills in Washington. 

Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith have voted in favor of the two bills that will fund the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education in Fiscal Year 2019. 

The bill increases defense spending by $19.8 billion over the previous year, and it provides troops with a 2.6% pay increase which is the largest in nearly 10 years. According to the Senators, the increased funding for defense will benefit Mississippi. 

“Mississippi is home to a significant level of national defense work, such as shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, and critical research.  I’ve worked to see that those programs are supported as part of the President’s rebuilding goal,” Hyde-Smith said.

Along with the increased defense spending, Wicker stated that the bill represents an investment in the American people. 

“With Republican leadership in Congress and in the White House, we are now funding our national priorities in a responsible way and ahead of schedule,” Wicker said. “The Defense funding bill would advance our national security, build more ships, give our troops a pay raise, and expand Junior ROTC programs in rural areas. We also are working to meet the needs of the American people through strategic investments in education, apprenticeship opportunities, medical research, and rural health care.”

Other major points in the bill include funding to fight the opioid epidemic, expanding rural health care services and increased opportunities for k-12 students. 

  • Continue to rebuild America’s military by increasing defense spending by $19.8 billion over last year’s spending level
  • Provide $24.2 billion for shipbuilding, including 13 battle force ships, in support of Wicker’s SHIPS Act, which made achieving a 355-ship Navy the policy of the United States
  • Give our troops a 2.6 percent pay raise, the largest increase in nearly a decade;
  • Pay for expanding Junior ROTC programs to underserved areas, as required by Wicker’s JROTC Act
  • Strengthen K-12 computer science education programs and in-demand apprenticeship programs, such as the Mississippi Coding Academies, through a Wicker-sponsored provision
  • Fight the opioid epidemic with $3.8 billion in funding
  • Support health-care research by increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion, including a $425 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research
  • Expand access to health services in underserved areas by increasing funding for rural health-care programs by $27 million

Congress is now set to pass 5 of 12 annual appropriations bills, representing 75 percent of government funding, on time and through regular order.

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