WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after voting to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act:

“I am pleased that Congress passed this bipartisan, bicameral budget agreement. Not only does it provide a clear path forward to fund the government, but it promises resources that will support and advance numerous issues that are critically important to West Virginians—many of which I have long fought for. This budget agreement provides a framework upon which we can complete the FY18 appropriations process.

“Specifically, this legislation supports our troops and veterans, supports continued efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, provides needed resources for disaster relief efforts both in recovery and mitigation for future natural disasters, and extends funding for community health centers – something I specifically requested in a letter I sent to Senate leadership earlier this week. Whether it’s protecting our national security, repairing and modernizing our infrastructure, expanding access to rural broadband, or delivering a long-term health care solution for thousands of children and families, this agreement will help improve the lives of West Virginians and many other Americans.

“So many of the issues this agreement focuses on have long been priorities of mine, and I have fought to deliver needed funding in these areas. When it comes to the opioid epidemic, West Virginia is ground zero, and it is critical that we have the resources necessary to fight this epidemic from all angles. This bill will help provide that support. We are also making progress toward ensuring the omnibus includes resources targeted to hard-hit states like West Virginia that are dealing with the worst of the drug epidemic.

“On the broadband front, the agreement specifically addresses the need to provide resources to bridge the digital divide and better connect our homes, businesses, and schools. These are just a few of many examples of how this legislation will positively influence the lives of so many in our state. 

“This budget agreement also includes an additional four years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which I have championed for decades. Combined with the six years of CHIP funding passed last month, today’s bill ensures that CHIP will continue to provide health care for West Virginia kids until 2027. I am also pleased that this bill recognizes the urgent need to help tens of thousands of retired coal miners by establishing a special bipartisan committee to develop legislation addressing the multi-employer pension crisis.

“Another important part of this bill is the inclusion of the FUTURE Act, bipartisan legislation I introduced to encourage technological innovation in carbon capture utilization and storage. This policy will help drive economic growth domestically and reduce future emissions abroad, while also allowing our country to embrace the kind of all-of-the-above energy strategy – including West Virginia coal and natural gas – we need to reach our full potential. I was proud to have led this effort, along with Senator Heitkamp, and I am excited for the economic and environmental benefits it will encourage.

“Improving the lives of West Virginians remains my top priority, and passage of this legislation is a critical step forward toward achieving that goal.” 

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