Womack Statement on House Passage of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills
Washington, DC—September 28, 2023…Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the FY24 Defense, Homeland Security, and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bills.
Congressman Womack said, “I’m glad the House coalesced and passed three additional appropriations bills, which ensures our military is postured to deter our adversaries, supports our men and women in uniform, secures the border, and includes funding for important projects at Ebbing Air National Guard Base. However, we have still not addressed the near-term target to fund the government by the time the clock strikes midnight this Saturday. Congress must swiftly act on our most fundamental duty: to avoid a lapse in appropriations and keep our country functioning for the American people.”
The Defense Appropriations bill prioritizes funding to counter China, optimizes the Department of Defense’s (DOD) workforce, promotes innovation, supports servicemembers and their families, and increases DOD’s role in combatting the flow of fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and other illegal drugs into the United States. Specifically for Arkansas’ Third Congressional District, it includes $117.1 million for Ft. Smith FMS and funding for important defense research at the University of Arkansas. The bill also includes funding for National Guard priorities, including funding the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA), the State Partnership Program, and C-130Js for the Air National Guard.
The Homeland Security bill secures our southwest border by providing $2.104 billion for construction of physical wall along the southwest border, providing $496 million for 22,000 Border Patrol Agents (the highest level ever funded), restoring border security technology funding to the FY22 level of $276 million, and forcing Secretary Mayorkas to adhere to the law and build physical barriers immediately. It counters China and bolsters our national security by providing $335 million to procure four additional Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters to operate in the Indo-Pacific.
The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill supports our national security by providing unwavering support for Israel by including $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing Program and fully funding the Countering PRC Influence Fund at $400 million. It maintains all long-standing, pro-life protections, and reins in the far-left’s wasteful bureaucracy and climate agenda while enhancing oversight and accountability. It also directs the Department of State to prioritize and address passport backlogs impacting Americans across the country by augmenting passport and visa fee revenue to reduce processing times for both passports and visas.
The House of Representatives has now passed 4 of the 12 FY24 appropriations bills, with passage of the FY24 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill on July 27, 2023.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.