Courtney Lends Support to Bipartisan Spending Deal with Significant Provisions for Eastern Connecticut
(Washington, DC) - Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted in favor of the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2019, a minibus spending agreement that funds a number federal agencies and programs in FY 2019.
“I am pleased that members from both sides of the aisle came together to pass a fair and bipartisan spending bill to pass a fair and bipartisan spending bill that invests in key priorities and avoids a shutdown,” said Courtney. “The bill that passed today is good news for Connecticut’s defense industry and our economy as a whole. The agreement also includes large investments in public education and increased funding for SAMSHA to combat the opioid crisis. Finally, I am especially pleased that this bill rejected many of the ideological riders and harmful cuts proposed by the administration. I hope this bipartisan model will serve as framework when discussion begin on the FY 2020 budget during the new Congress next year.
Some of the highlights of the bill include:
Strong support for Connecticut’s Defense Sector:
- Submarines: The bill provides $7.1 billion for procurement of two Virginia-class submarines and advanced procurement of future submarines as well as $180 million in research and development funding for the next generation of fast attack submarines. The conference report also provides $3.173 billion for Columbia-class Advanced Procurement and $543 million in research and development. The bill also provide $225 million in submarine industrial base support funding to ensure that second- and third-tier submarine suppliers will be able to respond to increased production demands for the Columbia and Virginia class submarine programs. The bill also includes $20 million to expand undersea vehicle research in partnership with universities.
- CT Aerospace Procurement – Funds planned procurement of 8 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters, 10 Combat Rescue Helicopters, and 6 VH-92 Presidential Helicopters—all built by Sikorsky. The bill also provides funding for an additional 9 Blackhawk helicopters for a total of 58. The bill also fully funds the B-21 Raider program and provides funding for 15 KC-46A next generation tankers. The bill also provides $9.3 billion for 93 F-35 fighter aircraft.
- Pay Raise – The bill provides funding for a 2.9% increase in military basic pay, consistent with law and the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.
- DOD Impact Aid – The bill increases Department of Defense impact aid to $50 million, an increase of $10 million compared to the FY18 level.
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers – The bill follows a Courtney request to increase funding by nearly $18 million for programs which help new businesses get started doing business with the Department of Defense, such as the Procurement Technical Assistance Center in Groton.
Investments to Combat the Opioid Crisis
- SAMHSA: $5.7 billion, which is $584 million over FY18 funding, including $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants, an increase of $500 million over the FY2018 level.
Increasing Support for K-12 and Higher Education Programs
- Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: This title received $1.17 billion in the conference agreement—up $70 million from FY 2018. The Administration’s FY 2018 budget request zeroed out the program. This flexible funding account allows school districts to expand access, increase technology use, improve school conditions, support school safety activities, implement mental health programs.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers: The bill includes $1.2 billion, a $10 million increase from FY 2018. Once again, the Administration had asked that this account be zeroed out and Congress disregarded that request.
- Impact Aid: $1.4 billion, an increase of $32 million.
- TRIO and GEAR UP: The conference agreement includes $1.1 billion for TRIO ($50 million increase) and $360 million for GEAR UP ($10 million increase). Both of these program s help first-generation college students prepare for, enter, and complete college by following students from high school through college graduation.
Department of Health & Human Services
- National Institutes of Health: $39.1 billion, $2 billion more than the FY18 enacted level
- Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG): $5.28 billion, and increased of $50 million
- Head Start/Early Head Start: The conference agreement increases funding for this account by $200 million for a total of $10.1 billion and the increase is directed to go towards Early Head Start Programming.
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): $242 million, including $189 million for Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) programs. The FY19 administration budget only requested $23 million in “shut-down” funding for IMLS.