Menendez Votes for Critical Funding for New Jersey in $857B Federal Spending Bill

Menendez Votes for Critical Funding for New Jersey in $857B Federal Spending Bill

The package included amendments authored by Senator Menendez such as start-up funding for the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, and requiring the department of Defense to disclose small disadvantaged and minority owned advertising

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) voted in support of a bipartisan federal spending to provide key funding for New Jersey’s servicemembers, students, workers, health care and education. The combined Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Department of Education appropriations spending bills –known as a minibus– provide critical funding for New Jersey priorities in Fiscal Year 2019.

The package included amendments authored by Senator Menendez such as $1 million in startup funding for the Centers of Disease and Control Prevention to begin implementing the Senator’s National Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, and an amendment to increase transparency in Department of Defense advertising, enabling Congress to examine whether small and minority-owned businesses are being adequately informed of opportunities to compete for lucrative supplier contracts – the overwhelming majority of which go to nonminority-owned businesses.

“This bipartisan spending bill includes critical funding that supports New Jersey’s families and provides our servicemembers with the resources needed to defend our nation,” said Senator Menendez. “I’m proud this spending bill includes programs I have fought for like the start-up funding for my Firefighters Cancer Registry Act, protecting New Jersey’s access to quality health care, supporting our troops, workers, and individuals with disabilities as well as small disadvantaged women-and-minority-owned businesses.” 

The legislation’s funding for the Department of Defense includes several critical military missions important to New Jersey, including $2.4 billion for 15 new KC-46A Aerial Refueling Tankers that Senator Menendez fought hard to bring to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The spending bills also included several priorities, which Sen. Menendez supports, such as:

 

Health

  • Firefighter Cancer Registry Act: the Senate spending bill provides $1 million for FY19 to begin implementation of the firefighter cancer registry. The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act was signed into law on July 9, 2018.  The law creates a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease and calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the incidence of cancer in firefighters to determine if there is a link, and to develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.
  • National Institutes of Health: the Senate spending bill provides an increase of $2 billion for NIH which brings the total funding for the agency to $39 billion.
  • Opioids: the Senate funding bill provides $1.5 billion for SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response Grant. This continues a 15 percent set-aside for states with the highest mortality rate related to opioid use disorders.

 

Education

  • Support for Low-Income Students: The Senate spending bill includes $15.9 billion, a $125 million increase, for Title I. This funding provides support to school districts and schools with a high percentage of low-income students to help all students succeed and meet challenging state academic standards.
  • Early Childhood Education: The Senate spending bill includes $5.2 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG), maintaining the historic $2.4 billion increase in FY18. Head Start receives $10.1 billion, an increase of $250 million.
  • Federal Student Aid: the Senate spending bill increases the maximum Pell grant award to $6,195, an increase of 1.6 percent or $100, to help students keep up with rising costs, limit the need for student loans, and ultimately graduate with less debt. The bill also provides $840 million for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and $1.1 billion for Federal Work Study, both level with FY2018.  These programs provide funding for college and universities to design financial aid programs to best meet the needs of their students.
  • Title IV: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV) are funded at $1.2 billion, an increase of $125 million. Title IV supports activities to provide students with a well-rounded education, including STEM education and computer science; ensure safe and supportive learning environments, including to help prevent and respond to school violence; and use technology to improve instruction.
  • IDEA State Grants: The bill includes $13.3 billion, a $125 million increase, for grants to states under parts B and C of the IDEA, to support special education services for children with disabilities, including grants for infants and families and children in preschool.
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): The Senate spending bill includes $242 million, a $2 million increase above FY2018, for IMLS.  This agency supports programs for museums and libraries that encourage innovation, provide life-long learning opportunities, promote cultural and civic engagement, and improve access to a variety of services and information.

Defense

  • KC-46A Refueling Tankers:  The bill provides $2.4 billion for 15 next generation air refueling tankers.   Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst – America’s one and only tri-service base – will be home to KC-46A tankers.
  • UM-60M Black Hawks Helicopters:  The bill provides $1.3 billion for 64 UH-60M multiuse Black Hawks for the Army and National Guard
  • Virginia Class submarines:  The bill provides $7.1 billion for construction and long-lead components for two Virginia class submarines, the SSN New Jersey is currently under construction.
  • Military Pay Raise:  The Senate bill provides a 2.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers.
  • Small Disadvantaged and Minority Owned Advertising Disclosures:  The Senate spending bills included an amendment proposed by Sen. Menendez to require the Department of Defense and the Service Branches to report and track federal advertising dollars spent at the prime and subprime contracting levels with small disadvantaged women-and-minority-owned businesses.

Labor

  • YouthBuild Program:  The Senate spending bills provides $89.5 million for the YouthBuild program, which engages disadvantaged, low-income youth in a full-time program with equal emphasis on education and hands-on, productive job training, coupled with personal counseling and mentoring, leadership development and service to the community.
  • Job Corps program: The Senate spending bills provides $1.7 billion for Job Corps, which provides education, training, and placement of disadvantaged youth into jobs that will help them improve their lives.  There are Job Corps sites in Edison, NJ and in New York City and Philadelphia.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): The Senate spending bill continues funding and authority provided last year that modifies eligibility for the PSLF program, and makes student borrowers eligible for PSLF if they were enrolled in an ineligible repayment plan, but otherwise would have been eligible for PSLF. The Trump Administration has proposed to eliminate PSLF, while the Senator has been long-time a supporter of PSLF.

This combined minibus appropriation bill provides $857 billion for programs through FY 2019. The Senate minibus appropriations bill will need to be conferenced with the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

 

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