The bipartisan spending deal addresses crucial priorities for Washingtonians, including college affordability, infrastructure funding, and critical agricultural research, among others
LHHS Appropriations bill includes increased investments for medical research, public health, maternal mortality, mental health, and more – MORE HERE
The package includes approximately $900 billion in COVID-19 relief funding, and Senator Murray called for additional funding in the new year – MORE HERE
Senator Murray: “Every day I hear from people in Washington state who are struggling to get by, and our federal budget should reflect the enormity and breadth of the challenges that they and our whole country face”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, acknowledged that as Congress passed bipartisan legislation to fund the government that also included millions of dollars of new and renewed federal investments in important priorities for Washington state, there is still much work to be done to help those who are struggling in Washington state and across the country make it through and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which also included COVID-19 relief legislation, will keep the government funded through the 2021 fiscal year. The bill now heads to the President’s desk.
“Every day I hear from people in Washington state who are struggling to get by, and our federal budget should reflect the enormity and breadth of the challenges that they and our whole country face.
“I’m glad that we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement that includes much needed relief for families, workers, and small business owners who are just scraping by and makes critical investments in public health, college affordability, access to quality, affordable child care for our servicemembers and their families, and repairing our aging infrastructure. And I’m pleased we were able to get funding for a number of key Washington state priorities, such as Hanford cleanup, agricultural research, and salmon restoration.
“But there is so much more I would have liked to see addressed, and major challenges we’ve got to tackle in the new year. I look forward to doing that work with the incoming Biden-Harris Administration, and as voice for Washington state in the Senate, I will continue fighting to ensure that our federal government meets this moment and provides the short and long-term relief and support that families in Washington state and across the country so desperately need.”
See below highlights of several federal investments and other priorities Senator Murray secured for Washington state in the funding package:
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Harbor Maintenance Tax and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund: Includes provisions Senator Murray has long fought for and helped secure to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and to more equitably distribute money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for maintenance projects at America’s ports. The legislation would incorporate long sought after formula changes to distributions from the HMTF and build on a provision included in the CARES Act to allow all of the money collected through the HMT each year to be returned directly to ports to improve infrastructure and keep Washington state ports competitive. See more HERE.
- TIGER/BUILD program: $1 billion for FY21. Since Senator Murray created the TIGER program in 2009, it has awarded $9 billion to help facilitate 678 projects in every state in the country, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, including 70 projects in FY20 alone. Of that total, Washington state has received $293.5 million to support more than 22 projects, including $5.8 million for the Pioneer Street Extension project and $17.75 million for the Mills to Maritime Cargo Terminal project this past year. Previous Washington state BUILD projects include the Barker Road grade separation in Spokane Valley, Tacoma LINK expansion, a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo, the North Spokane Corridor, the Mercer Corridor Redevelopment project in Seattle, the South Park Bridge Replacement in King County, the West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver, improvements to I-5 to relieve congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and terminal modernization projects at the Ports of Seattle and Everett.
- Federal-Aid Highway Program: $49 billion for FY21. This program provides financial support to states and localities for the development, construction, and repair of highways and bridges. Senator Murray successfully secured report language highlighting the conditions and resiliency of the nation’s bridges, and specifically recommending funding that can be used for repair and replacement on bridges like the West Seattle bridge. The language also directs the Federal Highway Administration to work with state and local stakeholders to reduce administrative and regulatory burdens in order to advance urgent bridge projects.
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): $3.45 billion, $50 million above FY20 level. These grants support home ownership, housing rehabilitation, public improvements, and economic development projects in communities throughout the country.
- Homeless Assistance Grants: $3 billion, $223 million above FY20 level. These grants provide funding to break the cycle of homelessness and move the homeless to permanent housing through rental assistance, emergency shelter, and supportive service provisions, among other steps.
- HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $1.35 billion. The HOME program is the federal government’s only block grant program to help state and local governments create more affordable housing units for low-income families. Senator Murray has been instrumental in continuing the HOME program, previously fighting to save the program from near elimination, and successfully working to protect the program from attacks from the Trump Administration in spending bills over the past four years.
- HUD-VASH and Tribal HUD-VASH: $40 million and $5 million respectively. Despite efforts to zero-out these critical programs, which provides housing assistance vouchers to veterans in Washington state and across the country, Senator Murray was again able to save the programs and is committed to their continued success.
- Agriculture and Nutrition
- Agricultural Research: $4.1 billion for agriculture research programs at the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Includes sustained and increased funding for research supporting Washington state specialty crops, including wine grapes and barley. The bill also includes language directing research and engagement by USDA on Little Cherry Disease (LCD), an increasingly significant problem for Washington state cherry growers.
- SNAP: $114.035 billion, an increase of $46.149 billion from FY20.
- Child Nutrition Programs: $25.11 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from FY20.
- Environment, Interior, Energy and Climate Change
- Hanford clean-up: $926.1 million for Richland Operations and $1.645 billion for Office of River Protection to facilitate nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford, an approximately $33.08 million increase above FY20.
- PNNL: $23 million to complete construction of PNNL’s Energy Sciences Center and $23 million for its Grid Storage Launchpad project.
- Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund: $65 million, consistent with FY20 funding levels.
- NMFS Protected Resources Science and Management of Pacific Salmon: $67 million, an increase of $2 million over FY20 funding.
- Pacific Salmon Treaty: $39.5 million for implementation, $4 million above the FY20 level.
- Puget Sound Cleanup: $33.75 million for the Puget Sound Geographic program, $0.75 million above the FY20 level.
- Mud Mountain Dam: Includes language encouraging the timely completion of Mud Mountain Dam by the close of 2020.
- Water Assistance: $638 million for new "Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program," which makes grants to state, local, and Tribal governments to distribute to drinking water and wastewater utilities.
- Child Development Centers: $206.2 million for the construction of four new child development centers.
- Special Victims Counsel: $46 million, a 32% increase over FY20. Senator Murray created the Special Victims Counsel to provide victims of military sexual assault, in all branches, with a trained lawyer to guide them through the legal process.
- Sexual Assault Prevention: Adds $7.5 million to implement DoD’s Sexual Prevention Plan of Action and to fund prevention efforts throughout the armed services.
- VA Caregivers: $1.2 billion, a $500 million increase over FY20, for VA’s Caregiver Support Program.
- Veteran IVF: Extends VA’s authorization allowing them to cover fertility services such as IVF for service connected veterans, building on Sen. Murray’s years of work to allow VA to cover fertility services to veterans injured during their service to our country.
- National Archives in Seattle: Includes language for NARA and GSA to explore action to prevent the immediate closure of the Sand Point facility as well as identify long-term options to ensure continued access to its contents.
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Chief Medical Officer: Increases funding for the office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at DHS by 33 percent over President Trump’s requested level, and directs the additional spending towards medical oversight, education, and training, as well as development of effective department-wide planning and interagency coordination protocol for public health emergencies. This additional funding will also be directed to create standards for providing physical and mental healthcare of minors detained in CBP custody. The CMO is the primary medical authority for DHS, and while under the current administration the office has been relegated to a more advisory capacity, the CMO is responsible for setting policies that impact the medical treatment of migrants.
- Early Learning & Head Start: $135 million increase for the Head Start program above FY20.
- Child Care: $85 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant above FY20, which helps expand access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families.
- Support for Elementary and Secondary Education: $16.5 billion, an increase of $227 million over the FY20 enacted level, for the Title I-A grants to local educational agencies program. The bill also includes an increase of $181 million—$13.8 billion in all—for special education. Federal Title I-A grants and special education funding bring more than $500 million annually to Washington state schools.
- Workforce Training: $9.4 billion for the Employment and Training Administration which is a $100 million increase over FY20. This includes: $2.85 billion, an increase of $26 million for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Training formula grants to states; $185 million for the Registered Apprenticeship Program, an increase of $10 million, and rejects the President’s proposal to create a lower quality, non-registered apprenticeship program; $45 million for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants program, an increase of $5 million; and it provides approximately $925 million in emergency contingency funding to help states address spikes in unemployment claims due to the ongoing pandemic.
- Medical Research: $42.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $1.25 billion over the FY20 level.
- Maternal Mortality: $62 million for the Maternal Mortality Initiative in CDC and HRSA, an increase of $9 million for the initiative aimed at reducing the nation’s alarmingly high maternal mortality rate.
- Mental Health: $35 million increase for the Mental Health Block Grant, in order for states to develop crisis care programs, a $5 million increase for Zero Suicide, and a $5 million increase for the Suicide Lifeline.
- Opioids & Substance Use: $3.95 billion in HHS to address opioid abuse, an increase of $84.6 million over FY20 levels.
- Domestic Violence: $7.5 million more for Family Violence and Prevention Services Act programs and a $1 million increase for the National Domestic Violence Hotline to $13 million.
- Urban Indian Health: $62.7 million, an increase of $5 million above FY20 levels.