Dec 18 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis voted in support of the omnibus appropriations bill, which, in addition to keeping the federal government running, also boosts defense discretionary funding, provides much-needed pay raises for military personnel, increases funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by more than 10 percent, cuts $600 billion in taxes for hardworking Americans and small business owners, delays ObamaCare’s tax on high quality health insurance and medical device tax for two years, and lifts the 40-year oil export ban. 

The omnibus appropriations bill also includes several provisions that were originally introduced or supported by Senator Tillis, including:

The halting of the Army’s plan to transfer 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the North Carolina National Guard in Raleigh to the regular Army. Earlier this year, Senator Tillis urged Senate appropriators to stop the movement of the Apache helicopters based in Raleigh. The successful inclusion of this provision will help save 400 North Carolina jobs, and most importantly, it stops a plan that would have undermined the combat prowess of the Army Guard, America’s first line of defense.

The inclusion of the Wounded Warrior Employment Improvement Act of 2015, which was originally introduced as a standalone bill by Senators Tillis and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) earlier this year. This bipartisan initiative will require the VA Secretary to develop and publish an action plan for improving the training and rehabilitation provided by the VA for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Funding for the construction of an air traffic control tower at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Last month, the U.S. Air Force announced a preliminary decision to establish a new KC-46A Pegasus Air Refueling Squadron at Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The control tower will provide the needed safety for the squadron of tankers, which are expected at Seymour Johnson by 2019.

The partial repeal of mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL), a mandate that led the World Trade Organization to recently grant Canada and Mexico the authority to seek $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs against the United States, which would have a damaging impact on North Carolina farmers and a wide range of economic industries across the nation. 

Key reforms to the H-2B visa program, assisting North Carolina small business owners who depend on the program. This past year, small business owners across the country experienced revenue loss and threats of shutting their doors because they were not able to hire enough works to meet demands. To address this problem, earlier this year, Senators Tillis and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) proposed several reforms to the H-2B temporary worker program to eliminate ambiguities and establish clear parameters for employers hiring H-2B workers, require increased coordination between federal agencies, and bring transparency to the program operations for greater efficiency while ensuring American workers are not displaced.

“While this legislation spends too much and is far from perfect, I ultimately supported it because it was a bipartisan reaffirmation of our nation’s commitment to bolstering America’s national defense and supporting our brave servicemembers and veterans,” said Senator Tillis. “This appropriations bill is especially beneficial to North Carolina’s military community, as it stops the planned removal of Apache Helicopters from the North Carolina National Guard in Raleigh and improves safety by constructing an air traffic control tower at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.”