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Higgins announces critical investments in research, education, healthcare, transportation, environment, and more


Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that the House passed the first three "Minibus" packages of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2020, which begins in October of this year. Between them, the three bills would fund most of the federal government.

The first bill, H.R. 2740, passed on June 19th, will provide a total of $982.8 billion to Labor-HHS-Education, Energy and Water Development, State-Foreign Operations, and Defense.

The second bill, H.R. 3055, which passed on June 25th, provides a total of $383.3 billion to Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Related Agencies, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-HUD.

And the third bill, H.R. 3351, funds Financial Services and General Government Appropriations, which includes the Treasury Department, Judiciary branch, and Small Business Administration. It passed the House on June 26th.

The legislation makes strong investments in numerous important areas of the federal government that directly benefit the Western New York region and the nation as a whole.

Below are outlines of each section of the bills' provisions and funding levels.

H.R. 2740:

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill includes $189.9 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $11.8 billion over last year's levels and $47.9 billion over the President's proposed budget. The bill:
  • Increases funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6.7 billion over the President's budget including $1.2 billion more for the National Cancer Institute, and $2.4 billion for Alzheimer's research. Last year alone NIH grants provided $96 million in funding for Western New York through Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo, CUBRC, and more.
  • Includes education funding increases for the Head Start program, Child Care Development Block Grants, YouthBuild, community colleges, veterans employment and training services and an increase in Federal Work Study and the maximum Pell Grants.
  • Restores the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) eliminated under the President's proposed budget, which assists tens of thousands of seniors in Niagara and Erie County. 
  • Funds Community Health Centers at $1.7 billion, an increase of $50 million.
  • Boosts funding for several grant programs that address the opioid crisis.
  • Provides resources to support additional staff for improved public service at Social Security field offices.
  • Restores funding for Promise Neighborhoods, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which were eliminated under the President's budget.  
The Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies section of H.R. 2740 funds the Department of Energy, US Army Corps of Engineers, and more, and is funded for FY 2020 at $46.4 billion, an increase of $1.8 billion from last year. It also:
  • Funds the US Army Corps of Engineers at $7.36 billion, an increase of $357 million over FY19 and $2.53 billion over the President's proposed budget. And prohibits diverting funding for Army Corps projects for the wall.
  • Prevents the use of any funds on the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Defense bill funds the operations, maintenance, readiness, and more for the Department of Defense. The bill provides $690.2 billion in discretionary funding, a $15.8 billion increase from last year. It includes:
  • A 3.1% military pay raise
  • Increases funding for Defense Health Programs, including cancer research programs
The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill funds the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and other international programs. H.R 2740 increases the funding for these programs by $2.2 above last year to $56.4 billion total. It also includes $7.97 billion for humanitarian assistance to refugees - $1.63 billion above the President's budget request.

H.R. 3055:

The Commerce-Justice-Science section of the bill funds $73.9 billion in total FY2020 discretionary funding, including:
  • $8.45 billion for the constitutionally required 2020 census, conducted by the Department of Commerce.
  • $5.5 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has provided funding for Buffalo River restoration projects several times in the past and conducts research on the effects of climate change.
  • The Department of Justice, which implements Violence Against Women Act programs, opioid epidemic programs, gun violence prevention, and more.
  • NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies division of the bill provides $24.3 billion in funding, an increase of $1 billion over FY19 levels, including food programs including SNAP and WIC, funded at $71.1 billion and $6.0 billion, respectively. It also includes $1.05 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, an increase of $185 million above FY19 funding.

The Interior-Environment, and Related Agencies division of H.R. 3055 provides $37.3 billion in discretionary funding, $7.2 billion higher than the President's budget request. It includes:
  • $9.53 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which manages the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which would be funded at $320 million for the coming year. The EPA's funding also includes $1.21 billion for cleaning up Superfund sites.
  • $13.79 billion for the Department of the Interior, which contains the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • $523.9 million for the Land and Water Conservation fund (LWCF).

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies division of the bill appropriates $108.4 billion, an 11% increase over FY2019, including:
  • $10.5 billion for military construction, which includes $1.5 billion for military family housing.
  • $94.3 billion for VA programs
  • $80.4 billion for VA medical care

The final division of H.R 3055 provides $137.1 billion for Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It includes:
  • $61 billion in infrastructure development from dedicated trust funds.
  • $1 billion in BUILD grants, formerly known as TIGER grants, of which millions of dollars were previously awarded for the Cars Sharing Main Street Project in downtown Buffalo, the new train station in Niagara Falls, and is a potential funding source for revitalization of the DL&W Terminal.
  • $34.2 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration.
  • $50.1 billion for HUD, $5.9 billion above last year's enacted funding level.
H.R. 3351:

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill includes $24.6 billion, $1.395 billion above FY2019 levels, and provides funding for:
  • The Treasury Department, at $13.56 billion. $12 billion is provided to fund the IRS.
  • The Small Business Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Congressman Higgins said: "These funding bills makes investments in areas that hit people close to home: providing access to education that opens doors to opportunity, aggressively supporting research for devastating disease, and providing a pay raise for our dedicated troops and their families. We will increase our funding for infrastructure improvements, as well as environmental conservation. Combined, these bills represent a budget that reflects our priorities, and expresses support for our nation and our people."

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