WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) issued the following statement after voting to pass the FY2018 omnibus government funding bill, legislation she helped author as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee:
“This legislation provides critical support for so many West Virginia priorities and is an important investment in the future of our state. These resources will help us fight the opioid crisis through enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts and improve our communities through economic growth and development. They will help better connect our communities by expanding access to rural broadband and rebuilding our infrastructure. They will also help improve our national security by making the largest investment in our Armed Forces since the beginning of the War on Terror—including pay raises for our troops—and better securing our borders. These are just a few of the ways this legislation will improve the lives of West Virginians, address many of the most pressing challenges facing our nation, and create new opportunities for Americans across the country. I’m proud that I had the opportunity to play an integral role in this process and was able to secure these resources for such important priorities.”
The FY2018 government funding bill includes resources to support many West Virginia priorities, including:
- Fighting the Opioid Epidemic – The bill provides $4.6 billion to combat the opioid crisis. This is a $3 billion (192 percent) increase over FY2017.
- $415 million to expand behavioral health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services and facilitate the development of an appropriately trained workforce, especially in rural communities.
- $350 million to strengthen surveillance activities across all 50 states, implement activities described in the National All Schedules Prescriptions Electronic Reporting Act, and increase public awareness through a nationwide awareness and education campaign.
- $500 million for a new initiative for opioid addiction research, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment.
- $1 billion for a new State Opioid Response Grant, with a 15 percent set-aside for states with the highest mortality rate related to opioid use disorders and a $50 million set-aside for Indian tribes and tribal organizations. This funding is in addition to the $500 million from 21st Century CURES, increasing flexible funding available to states by 200 percent.
- $385.8 million, a $12.5 million increase, to fund opioid treatment and prevention throughout VA.
- An increase of $185 million for opioid programs in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) programs for National and Regional Significance.
- An increase of $60 million for child abuse prevention and treatment programs to support the development and implementation of plans of infant safe care to improve and better-coordinate services for newborns exposed to substances and their families or caregivers.
- An increase of $40 million for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment for children and families in the foster care and child welfare systems.
- Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure – The legislation includes more than $21.2 billion in new infrastructure funding to ensure public safety and promote economic growth.
- Provides billions in new funding for highways, waterways, airways, and railways.
- Invests in rural infrastructure, including a new initiative for areas without broadband access.
- Targets funds toward programs like TIGER grants and Community Development Block Grants that give states and localities a greater say in how they’re used.
- Includes $301.5 million for the EDA, including $117.5 million for its Public Works program, $17.5 million over the FY2017 enacted level, to support brick-and-mortar projects in economically distressed communities across the country.
- Increased funding is also targeted to expand broadband infrastructure and access to unserved areas of the country.
- Provides $30 million in grants to assist troubled coal mining communities.
- Achieving Our Full Energy Potential – The bill includes funding and language that will help America purse an all-of-the-above energy strategy to reach our full energy potential.
- Provides $727 million, $59 million above the FY2017 enacted level, for technologies to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy resources.
- Requires the identification of the federal agencies with jurisdictional oversight of establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in central Appalachia and the coordination of those agencies to streamline the permitting application and approval process.
- Strengthening Our National Defense – The bill begins rebuilding America’s military by making the largest investment in our Armed Forces since the beginning of the War on Terror.
- Fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for the troops, which is the largest pay increase in eight years, and enhances equipment and machinery, and supports our men and women serving overseas.
- Strengthens missile defense, funds new weapons systems, and invests heavily in measures designed to counter threats from ISIL and North Korea.
- Begins to upgrade U.S. military strength with significant funding increases for shipbuilding, aircraft procurement.
- Cares for our veterans by providing record level VA funding while increasing oversight and modernization.
- Counters violent extremist organizations worldwide and supports U.S. allies in Israel, Jordan, and Eastern Europe.
- Keeping Americans Safe – The legislation includes robust funding to fight terrorism, enhance criminal law enforcement, and secure U.S. borders.
- Provides significant funding increases to enhance law enforcement, pursue prosecutions, and improve public safety by giving law enforcement agencies additional resources to tackle the constantly-changing landscape of criminal activity at home and abroad.
- Provides $1.57 billion for physical barriers and technology to secure the Southwest border, including more than 95 miles of new or upgraded border wall system construction.
- Increases ICE funding by $640 million to improve enforcement of immigration and customs laws.
- Includes 3 to 5 percent funding increases for federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service.
- Increases funds for border security and enforcement of immigration law, including 100 new immigration judge teams.
- Directs funding specifically for combatting both human and opioid trafficking across agencies.
- Preparing Workers to Succeed – The bill includes $30 million for a new dislocated worker training initiative to provide reemployment and training assistance to dislocated workers in rural areas of the country hit hardest by the recession and recovering more slowly. Funding is devoted to training those who have lost their jobs in the Appalachian and Delta regions to ensure they can adapt existing skills and learn new skills demanded by other growing industries and return to work as soon as possible.
- Maintaining Healthy Communities – The bill includes $1.63 billion, $135 million above FY2017, for community health centers to expand behavioral health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services, including opioid abuse, and provide access to overdose reversal drugs and recovery support services.
- Supporting Our Veterans – Entities throughout West Virginia are embracing the benefits of agri-therapy for our veterans. This bill includes $4 million in dedicated funding for this program.
- Ensuring Secure Elections – The bill includes $380 million for states to update and improve their election technology and security.
- Protecting Education Opportunities - Last year, TRIO programs at West Virginia State University and West Virginia University—which provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and first-generation colleges students—were eliminated from funding consideration because of simple errors in their applications. Senator Capito made sure this legislation included fixes so students in West Virginia can continue to benefit from federal TRIO programs. The bill also includes $1.01 billion, a $60 million increase, for TRIO programs.
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