Higgins Outlines Details of Budget Package Approved by the House
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives approved an appropriation package funding various government programs and operations for fiscal year 2021.
“These are challenging times for our nation,” Higgins said. “This legislation invests in our communities and builds a path to a healthier and stronger America.”
Below are highlights of the package with a focus on several aspects important to Western New York:
Transportation-Housing & Urban Development
- $107.2 billion for the Department of Transportation, $21.1 billion more than the President proposed
- Including $1 billion for the BUILD (TIGER) program. In FY21 Higgins is supporting local applications for Cars Sharing Main Street and the Niagara Falls State Park bridges.
- An additional $26 billion in emergency funding for aging infrastructure & supporting economic recovery in response to the pandemic
- $18.1 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration including $1.5 billion for aviation safety
- $18.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, which provides federal funding for the NFTA. This includes $2.2 billion for the FTA’s New Starts program which has previously provided funding for planning related to the Amherst-Buffalo Metro expansion project.
- $10 million for a new competitive grant program supporting Transportation Planning in areas of persistent poverty
- Report language authored by Congressman Higgins supporting the role of University Transportation Centers in researching technology to reduce idling and congestion on urban arterials, such as signal synchronization.
- $50.6 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which are critical to the Buffalo-Niagara region. President Trump’s budget proposed to eliminate the program.
- $60 million for programs to support homeless veterans including $20 million for HUD/VASH. The President proposed to eliminate the program.
- $1.7 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program which funds a range of activities related to building, buying or rehabbing affordable housing.
- $893 million for Housing for the Elderly, $40 million more than the President proposed
- $227 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities, $25 million more than FY20
Labor-Health and Human Services – Education
- $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $5.5 billion increase
- $6.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute
- Including $5 billion in emergency funding to support research interrupted due to COVID
- $2.9 billion for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research
- $9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control, including $4 billion to prepare for COVID vaccinations as well as an enhanced influenza vaccination campaign
- $4.5 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), including $3.5 billion for advanced manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics
- $5 billion for the Public Health Emergency Fund for quick response to public health threats
- $925 million for State Unemployment Insurance operations
- $365 million for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to fund research into racial health inequities. Higgins successfully pushed for report language supporting the NIMHD’s mission and urging more funding for community-based health disparities research like that taking place at the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute.
- $6 billion for the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a $238 million increase over the President’s request
- $1.65 billion for Community Health Centers, an increase of $25 million
- $5.9 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants, an increase of $37 million
- $73.5 billion for Education, $6.9 billion above Trump’s request, including:
- $42.2 billion for K-12, $5.2 billion above Trump’s request, including: $16.6 billion for Title 1 Grants and $14.1 billion for Special Education
- $2.6 billion for higher education programs, including: increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $6,495 a boost of $150 over FY20; and increasing Federal Work Study by $30 million to $1.2 billion
- $10.2 billion for workforce training programs including increased funding for Job Corps, YouthBuild, and the Senior Corps
- A total of $13 billion, including $100 million in additional funding, for the Social Security Administration to hire additional staff at field offices and improve public services
Energy & Water Development
- $7.63 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for constructions, operations and maintenance
- $43.5 billion in emergency spending to build and repair water and clean energy infrastructure projects
- $412 million for grants under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to confront the opioid epidemic, a $34 million increase over FY20
- Implements provisions of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with:
- $400 million for grants to carry out reform initiatives
- $77.5 million for Police-Community Relations Grant programs
- $50 million within the Byrne JAG program for training to eliminate police misconduct
- $27.2 million within the Byrne JAG program to help law enforcement improve reporting on the use of force & create local task forces on public safety innovation
- $525 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs
- $356 million for the Economic Development Administration, a $23 million increase over FY20
- $1.68 billion for the Census Bureau
- $8.55 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) which funds research at local universities
- $5.45 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), $829.2 million above the President’s request. NOAA is s source of funding for Buffalo River restoration.
- $153 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. WNY’s MEP, Insyte Consulting, has been a top national performer helping to save or create thousands of local manufacturing jobs.
- Prevents the Justice Department from spending federal funds for the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act
Financial Services & Government
- $61 billion in emergency funding to expand broadband in underserved communities
- $500 million in Election Security Grants to help states expand on election integrity measures
- $273.5 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), Fund which increases opportunity in distressed communities, previously supporting efforts by Launch NY, Tonawanda Tomorrow and Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI). The President’s budget proposed elimination.
- $939.4 million to fund the Small Business Administration including $277 million for SBA Entrepreneurial Development Programs, like Small Business Development Centers & Women’s Business Centers.
- Funds a 3% pay raise for our military
- $104.3 billion for scientific research, development and new technologies
- $512.5 million for cancer research
- $175 million for mental health and traumatic brain injury (TBI) research
- $40 million for spinal cord research
- Prohibits the use of military funds for the border wall and returns unspent funds Trump pulled from our military
The new federal fiscal year begins October 1, 2020. Last week the House approved a separate package providing appropriations for: State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. The Senate will need to approve similar bills before the end of September.