Courtney Statement On Passage Of 2017 Omnibus Spending Measure
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) applauded the bipartisan passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, an omnibus spending measure that funds the federal government for the remainder of FY2017, by a vote of 309 to 118.
“While this should have been finalized last year, I am pleased that members from both sides of the aisle finally came together to pass a fair and bipartisan spending bill to close out the fiscal year,” said Courtney. “The bill that passed today is good news for Connecticut’s defense industry and our economy as a whole. It contains funding for all of Connecticut’s top-defense manufacturing priorities, including $85 million in advanced procurement funding for Virginia-class submarines produced at Electric Boat. Additionally, despite the Trump administration’s directives to cut funding for domestic priorities such as the National Institutes of Health, Meals on Wheels, SeaGrant, and after school programs, Republicans joined with Democrats in rejecting those harmful cuts. There is little doubt that many of the domestic priorities that Americans rely on will come under attack again during future budget negations with the White House, but I hope the bipartisan framework passed in the House today can serve as a model as we begin to get a very late start on the 2018 budget.”
Some of the highlights of the appropriations omnibus bill include:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – increased by $2 billion for a total of $34 billion of funding for FY 2017.
- National Sea Grant College Program – with the base program funded at $63 million and a $9.5 million set aside for aquaculture, Sea Grant’s funding remains level for FY 2017. This program was set to be cut in the omnibus to fund border wall construction, so this is a victory
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers – this critical afterschool program is funded at $1.19 billion—a $25 million increase over the enacted level. Courtney visited one of these programs at Huntington Elementary School.
- Pell Grants – the omnibus agreement directs the Department of Education to issue guidance to expand the eligibility and flexibility of the Pell program to provide for year-round Pell grants.
- Community Development Block Grant – the CDBG program received level funding of $3 billion. This program, as well as the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program (level funded at $950 million), have been targeted as possible sources of federal funding for remediation of crumbling foundations in Connecticut.
- Homeless Veterans – The agreement includes $40 million for new incremental vouchers under the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) to continue our obligation to attain 0% homelessness for our nation’s veterans.
- Opioid Epidemic – The agreement includes $800 million for the prevention and treatment of opioid abuse—this includes increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This funding is an increase of $650 million over the FY 2016 enacted level.
- Long Island Sound Study – The Administration has been threatening cuts to the Long Island Sound Study—an EPA geographic initiative that focuses on managing water quality and restoring wildlife habitats along the Long Island Sound Estuary. The omnibus agreement includes $8 million in funding for the regional initiative—an increase of $4.06 million from the current funding level.