Langevin Supports Omnibus Spending Bill

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today voted to support H.R. 2029, a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2016. The legislation contains several of Langevin’s priorities, including a boost in funding for respite care services and job training, and support for cybersecurity.

“While there are elements of this omnibus that trouble me deeply, such as the lifted ban on crude oil exports or the absence of support for gun violence research, this bill represents a truly bipartisan compromise,” Langevin said. “It brings stability to government and makes investments in important priorities like medical research, education, workforce development, as well as the environment through an extension of tax breaks for solar, wind and other renewable energy producers, and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three more years.”

The omnibus spending package provides a $1 million boost for Lifespan Respite Care programs, bringing this year’s total funding level to $3.36 million. Langevin authored and first introduced the Lifespan Respite Care Act in 2002, and it was signed into law in 2006. The omnibus measure also provides a $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and reauthorizes the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that provides lifetime health care benefits for 9/11 first responders.

As co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, Langevin applauded the $86 million boost for job training grant funding, calling it a victory for workforce development programs that put people back to work. He likewise lauded the $570 million increase in Head Start funding, noting that early education and intervention programs keep at-risk youth from falling through the cracks and help them find a path to success.

Langevin, who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, is particularly pleased that the omnibus includes his language from the Cybercrime Antitheft Resale Deterrent Extraterritoriality Revision (CARDER) Act. The CARDER Act, which passed favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, would make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute foreign criminals who trade in Americans’ stolen credit cards. The omnibus also includes a proposal to improve information-sharing between government and the private sector.

“Cybercrime, cyber espionage and cyber warfare are realities that we cannot ignore. Information-sharing legislation is not a complete solution, but it is a critical component that will strengthen our nation’s cyber defenses and enable us to respond to threats more quickly and effectively. The cyber language included in the omnibus ensures that personal data is stripped out before information is shared, marking a significant step forward in cybersecurity while preserving privacy and civil liberties.”

As a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Langevin noted that this spending package doesn’t just improve our cybersecurity, it also fortifies our overall national security. The Visa Waiver Program currently allows nationals from 38 countries to enter the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Under this legislation, individuals would not be able to enter the United States without a visa if they hold dual citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or if they have visited those countries since 2011.

In his capacity as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Langevin was also pleased to report that the Ohio Replacement Program and the Virginia Payload Module, centerpieces of the work being done by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Rhode Island, will receive an additional $118 million and $47 million, respectively, over 2015 levels.

“Rhode Island’s defense industry plays an integral role in our national security, and fully funding these two programs will not only ensure our military has the greatest possible capabilities at their disposal, but it will also support jobs and spur innovation in my home state,” said Langevin. “These are challenging times we face, but I believe that this spending bill reaffirms our promise to protect national security, improve quality of life for Americans, and invest in our future.”