12.19.19

Capito Votes to Pass Government Funding Bill with Miners’ Pension Legislation Included

Packages includes eight bills containing important West Virginia priorities authored by Senator Capito

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a leader on the Senate Appropriations Committee, today voted in favor of one of two appropriations packages to clear the Senate. The bill includes FY20 funding measures for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health And Human Services, Education And Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, And Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations And Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The measure passed by a vote of 71 to 23.

Earlier this summer, with Senator Capito’s support, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. That legislation enabled Congress to set appropriations funding levels over the next two years and made it possible for the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider these appropriations bills to end the funding process.

“I’m encouraged that the Senate was able to work together in a bipartisan way to pass these important appropriations bills,” Senator Capito said. “This is what we were sent to Congress to do. I am particularly proud of the fact that legislation I introduced to secure our coal miners’ pensions was part of this package. I’ve been proud to fight alongside our coal miners—as well as Leader McConnell, Senator Manchin, Congressman McKinley, and the UMWA—every step of the way to make sure we enact a solution that keeps the promise to these hardworking men and women. It’s because of the dedication and heart these miners displayed throughout the entire process that we were able to get this done. I thank them for their hope, their patience, and their tireless efforts to fight this until the very end.

“I am also proud to say that this legislation supports many of the priorities I have adopted from my first day in the Senate. In these bills, we provide resources to improve broadband access, expand research for Alzheimer’s and childhood cancer, fund food and nutrition programs like SNAP, invest in our infrastructure, provide resources to assist states addressing PFAS contamination and remediation, and support our veterans. This legislation also extends the Secure Rural Schools program for two years, providing vital education resources for school systems in West Virginia counties with national forest land. I will continue working to make sure our state’s priorities are reflected in additional funding measures so we can continue moving West Virginia—and our country—forward.”

Highlights from each funding measure include:

LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, EDUCATION AND RELATED AGENCIES, 2020 

  • $5.7 billion to continue fighting the opioid epidemic, including language Senator Capito authored in FY18 that sets aside funds for states with the highest mortality rates per capita rather than population-based distribution. Furthermore, new flexibility is provided to enable states’ use of funding for the rise of other stimulants.
  • Increases the maximum Pell grant award per percipient by $150 for the academic year.
  • Increases for both the Black Lung Clinics and the Mine, Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES, 2020

  • $75 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, to help stem the opioid crisis.
  • Full funding for food and nutrition programs including Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT, 2020

  • A $10 million increase for Fossil Energy Research, including full funding for the National Energy Technology Lab for facilities and research, and a $5 million increase for research and infrastructure.
  • $175 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission, an increase of $10 million over last year including $50 million for the POWER Initiative, $10 million for substance abuse pilot, $5 million for broadband deployment in economically distressed counties within the North Central and Northern Appalachian region.

INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES, 2020

  • Includes $43 million in additional overall funding to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) along with $20 million to assist states addressing PFAS contamination and remediation, an issue Senator Capito has taken the lead on in the Senate.
  • Inaugural funding for the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Program, a new competitive grant Senator Capito championed in last year’s passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act.
  • Funding included to address National Park maintenance backlogs.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH, 2020

  • Increases funds for salaries for the U.S. Capitol Police in recognition and support for the work those brave men and women do to keep members, visitors, and constituents safe when visiting the Capitol Complex.

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES, 2020

  • $585 million carved out for women veteran’s healthcare.
  • Language and $5 million included for the veterans agritherapy pilot program Senator Capito authored and has championed that is implemented at the Huntington VA.
  • Includes language that strongly encourages the Office of the Inspector General to commence investigations in a timely manner and to share information and their findings with entities, including the Department of Justice, as appropriate. This language falls in line with Senator Capito’s Improving Safety and Security Veterans Act

STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS AND RELATED PROGRAMS, 2020

  • $3.3 billion for Foreign Military Financing Program assistance for Israel.

TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES, 2020

  • $100 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), which Senator Capito brought to the attention of the subcommittee, leading a letter to the chairmen and ranking members requesting dedicated funding for incomplete corridors, such as Corridor H. $15.7 million will be carved out for West Virginia and report language also added encouraging the expansion of ADHS.
  • Funding included for the highway bridge program, of which $50 million is for West Virginia bridges.
  • $1 billion for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grants, a competitive program that West Virginia has been awarded on multiple occasions.
  • $3.4 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, a central resource for the success of many West Virginia communities. Specific funding is set aside for transitional housing for people exiting drug treatment.
  • With an emphasis on homelessness, $2.8 billion is provided for assistance programs, including $80 million for grants and technical assistance to end youth homelessness.

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