U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne was was of many House congressional Republicans to support a $1.1 trillion year-end spending bill last night, which some suggest is indicative of the power the GOP bought themselves in November’s midterm elections.
Amid a number of “conservative reforms” is the funding for the three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, which were allocated in the House’s 2015 National Defense Authorization Act passed last week.
The bill includes $80 million for the advance procurement of materials for a ship to be built in fiscal 2016, and keeps Austal USA — one of the area’s largest employers — running on schedule for next year.
Also included was a provision for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which boosts funding for harbor maintenance by $100 million — money that can be used by the Army Corps of Engineers for improvements to the port of Mobile.
Also assisting a cause Byrne has championed is a change to the “Waters of the U.S. Rule” included in the bill, which makes clear that the aforementioned rule can’t be applied to farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
Passed in September, the proposed rule would have redefined “navigable waterways” to include everything from a family pond to small ditches, according to Byrne’s office.
Other notable reforms include:
• No new funding for ObamaCare
• Prohibits funds for ObamaCare Risk Corridors
• Requires HHS and Treasury to report to Congress on improper payments of ObamaCare tax subsidies
• Cuts the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) by $10 million
• Maintains all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions
Hyde, Tiahart, Helms, and Kemp-Kasten Amendments, bans public funding for abortions in the DC, within FEHBP, and federal prisoners
• Three new pro-life provisions:
Obamacare transparency – requires ObamaCare healthcare plans to tell customers if they provide abortion services
Conscience protection – requires HHS Office of Civil Rights to address complaints of violations
Provides $12 million in unused abstinence education funds
• Cuts EPA $60 million (fifth consecutive year of cuts, totaling a 21% reduction since FY10, and a decrease in 2,000 positions – 1989 levels)
• Protects Second Amendment rights and prohibits EPA to regulations of lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle
• Cuts IRS funding $345.6 million ($1.5 billion below the president’s request and below FY08 levels)
• Prohibits IRS targeting organizations based on their ideological beliefs or for exercising their First Amendment rights
• Prohibits the White House ordering review of tax-exempt status
• Prohibits IRS funds for inappropriate videos and conferences
• Fully funds the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding at $3.1 billion
• Prohibits funds for the Palestinian Authority if it unilaterally seeks membership at the UN and does not counter incitement of violence
• Stops NLRB’s regulations related to e-Card Check
• No funds for high-speed rail