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House-Passed Spending Bill Important to Tennessee

July 19, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  July 19, 2018 – Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08) today released the following statement on H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2019.  This legislation passed the House by a vote of 217 to 199.

Congressman Kustoff said: “Funding the government is one of Congress’ most important responsibilities. This bill includes many important provisions on the national level to reduce regulatory red tape of the Environmental Protection Agency, protect our nation’s valuable natural resources, and improve our communities by making critical investments in our national infrastructure.

“Also of note, I am pleased this legislation contains provisions that will benefit communities on the local and state levels.  Specifically, this bill takes steps to cut down on drug trafficking and eradicates the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which will restore the states’ power of regulation of their waterways.”

Included in H.R. 6147 is an amendment championed by Congressman Kustoff, which increases funding to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program by $5 million and reduces the General Services Administration's rental of space allocation by $5 million. This amendment was accepted by voice vote and included in the final passage of H.R. 6147.

Congressman Kustoff spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives urging support for this amendment.  The full text of Congressman Kustoff’s floor speech on his amendment can be found below.

Congressman Kustoff said: “Mr. Chairman, I know my many of my colleagues are having similar discussions in their districts, so they understand just how serious this issue is becoming for the safety and security of the American people.
“It is no secret that the spread of illegal drugs throughout West Tennessee and across the nation leads to higher crime rates, which ultimately increases the financial strain on our local, state, and federal law enforcement.

“We must do more to support law enforcement in this fight.  This amendment will provide necessary funds for additional equipment and man-hours to conduct and carry out lengthy investigations to arrest these drug traffickers. The brave men and women in uniform are working tirelessly on the front lines to combat the opioid epidemic, and we cannot afford to simply sit back and watch. 
“We must also think of the resources needed to battle the drug addiction epidemics, such as the opioid crisis.  The extra funding will take major steps to target these high-risk areas and a frontend approach to preventing the spread of the opioid crisis in our communities. We must be proactive now, because prevention is the best long-term solution.

“As a former US Attorney I have seen first hand how much these funds can make a huge difference in forward progress. I believe increasing the funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program is a good first step to supporting our law enforcement and combatting rampant opioid epidemic.
“Officers at the local, state and federal level have expressed support for this amendment, and I urge my colleagues to do the same today.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.”