Higgins Announces House Approval of Spending Deal, Taking Action to Avert Shutdown
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives approved a spending agreement, which funds several federal departments and programs through September 30, 2019, the end of the federal fiscal year. Action by both the House and the Senate, followed by a signature by the President, will avert another government shutdown like the one recently orchestrated by the President.
Higgins, a member of the House Budget Committee, said, “This legislation is by no means perfect, but it represents a bipartisan compromise led by members of Congress that prevents the American people and our economy from the severe consequences that comes with a shutdown. The bill funds programs important to the people of Western New York and builds a level of certainty for federal workers and our communities.”
The summary below highlights portions of the bill of particular interest to Western New Yorkers:
Homeland Security: $49 billion, $2 billion above the President’s budget request
- Customs and Border Protection: $14.9 billion, $734 million above the President’s budget
- Including $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fencing along the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, per the 2017 approved fencing design, prohibits construction in areas of environmental sensitivity
- $415 million for humanitarian relief
- $59 million for 600 new CBP officers
- $77 million for opioid detection equipment & staffing at international mail facilities
- $100 million for new border security technology, including fixed towers, remote video systems and mobile surveillance on the northern border.
- $534 million for non-intrusive inspection equipment at land ports of entry
- Coast Guard: $12 billion, $578 million above the President’s request
- Supports new investments in the Coast Guard fleet and an additional 250 military personnel
- Transportation Security Agency (TSA): $4.9 billion, $884 million above the President’s request. Includes funding for additional TSA officers & training to support growth in passenger volume at airports & 50 new canine screening teams.
- Federal Emergency Management: $16.6 billion, an increase of $5.5 billion above requested. $3.1 billion in grants to communities, including $350 million for the Assistance to Fire Grant Program and $350 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, which benefit local fire departments.
Transportation, Housing & Urban Development: $71.1 billion, $23.1 billion above the President’s budget request and $1 billion above FY2018
- TIGER/BUILD Program: $900 million, $600 million below FY2018. The President proposed elimination of the program. Projects in WNY have been awarded $49.5 million through the program: the Niagara Falls International Railway Station was awarded $16.5 million in 2010, in 2011 the Cars Sharing Main Street project was awarded $15 million, in 2015 the project returning vehicular traffic to Main Street in Buffalo received an additional $18 million.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): $17.5 billion, $1.3 billion above the President’s request.
- Federal Highway Administration: $49.3 billion, $3.5 billion above the President’s budget.
- Federal Railroad Administration: $2.9 billion, $1.9 billion above the President’s request. $1.9 billion for Amtrak including: $650 million for the Northeast Corridor, $50 million to assist with ADA compliance & $50 million for positive train control. $670 million for rail infrastructure and $10 million toward high speed rail between Washington and Baltimore, with a proposal to extend to New York City.
- Community Planning & Development: $7.7 billion, $5 billion above the President’s request. Includes: $3.4 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $2.6 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants & $1.3 billion for the HOME program.
- Housing: $12.7 billion, $726 million above the President’s request. Includes: $61 million for the renovation & construction of housing for the elderly and $30 million for new housing units for persons with disabilities.
- Office of Lead Hazard Control & Healthy Homes: $279 million, $49 million above FY2018 and $134 million above the President’s request.
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration: $23 billion, $32 million above FY2018 levels
- Food & Nutrition
- Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC): $6.075 billion, $325 million above the President’s request
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): full funding for 2019
- Child Nutrition Programs: full funding for 2019
Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies: $71.8 billion, $5.8 above the President’s request
- International Trade Administration: $495 million, includes $16.4 million for China antidumping and countervailing duty enforcement
- Economic Development Administration (EDA): $304 million, an increase of $2.5 million above FY2018. Launch NY, a program supporting promising WNY entrepreneurs, has received $1.682 million in EDA funding since 2012.
- Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP): $140 million, the President proposed elimination of the program. Insyte Consulting in WNY has been the top MEP performer since 2013, working with small and mid-sized manufactures to generate sales and create/protect jobs.
- National Weather Service: $1 billion, $85.5 million over the President’s request. Fully funds weather satellites, important to accurate weather forecasting
- Census Bureau: $3.82 billion, $1 billion above FY2018 to prepare for an accurate 2020 Census
- NOAA Climate Research: $159 million, $60.4 million above the President’s budget
Department of Justice: $30.9 billion, $2.1 billion above the President’s request
- $3.02 billion in grants to communities including funding for: $423.5 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Program (JAG) , $303.5 million for Community Oriented Policing Services, $178 million to address sexual assault kit & other DNA evidence backlogs, Second Chance Act, $101 million for the STOP School Violence, $497.5 million for the Violence Against Women Act Program, $75 million for the NICS Firearms background check system
- Immigration Judges: $563.4 million for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, supports 534 immigration judge teams, 50 more than 2018.
- Opioid Epidemic: $347 million for grants under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act including: $157 million for a Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, $77 million for drug courts, $30 million for prescription drug monitoring programs & $22 million for veteran treatment courts.
Financial Services: $12.7 billion for the Treasury Department
- Office of National Drug Control Policy: $417 million, $387 million above the President’s budget. Maintains FY2018 level funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program and increases the Drug-Free Communities Program to $100 million.
- Small Business Administration (SBA): $715 million, $36.4 million above the President’s request. Including additional funding for Entrepreneurial Development Programs such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, the SCORE volunteer mentor program, and Veterans Outreach.
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies:
- National Park Service: $3.22 billion, $521 million above the President’s request
- Land & Water Conservation Fund: $435 million, $10 million above FY2018
- Environmental Protection Agency: $8.8 billion, $2.66 billion above the President’s budget request
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.7 billion, $300 million above the President’s budget
- Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $1.2 billion, $300 million above the President’s request
- Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Grants: $68 million, $48 million above the President’s budget
- National Endowment for the Arts & Humanities: $155 million each for NEA and NEH, $2 million above FY2018. The President proposed elimination of these programs.
State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs: $54.2 billion, $11.9 billion above the President’s request
- Refuge Assistance: $3.4 billion, $632 million above the President’s budget
- President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: $5.7 billion, $50 million above FY2018
In addition the bill:
· Overrides President Trump’s pay freeze for federal employees, providing a 1.9 percent pay raise for 2019
· Preserves 6-day USPS delivery
· Fully funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
“President Trump’s plans to declare a politically motivated National Emergency represents a crumbling of our democracy’s balance of powers built into the Constitution,” added Higgins. “In addition, this false crisis could pull millions of dollars in funding for Western New York, including allocations for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and Army Corps, which support local projects and jobs.”