Menendez: Year-End Legislative Package Delivers for NJ

Menendez: Year-End Legislative Package Delivers for NJ

Spending bill includes investments in key health care priorities, gun safety, Gateway, election security, education & environment

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) applauded passage today of a bipartisan federal funding package for Fiscal Year 2020 that provides significant new investments in gun safety, election security, child care, and higher education.  The Senator also secured key funding increases for several New Jersey priorities, including his Firefighter Cancer Registry, Autism CARES, to battle the scourge of opioid addiction and to keep the Gateway Project moving forward. 

“This bipartisan agreement includes significant investments that benefit middle-class and working families across New Jersey, protect our communities, fund key priorities that will improve the quality of life for residents, and support critical research into Alzheimer’s disease, gun violence, and cancer rates among our nation’s courageous firefighters,” said Sen. Menendez. “The American people, and the people in my state want us to work together with our colleagues from across the aisle to get things done—not allow vindictive, partisan politics to threaten critical programs they rely upon.  This commonsense, bipartisan legislation shows we can deliver for our constituents.” 

The year-end funding package includes:

Gun Violence and Public Safety

  • Gun Violence Research:  For the first time in decades, Congress has broken a ban on gun violence research and will invest a combined $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health to undertake critical research into our rising gun violence epidemic. 
  • Domestic Violence Prevention: $502.5 million for domestic violence grants within the Violence Against Women Act program, the highest level in its history.
  • The package provides a total of $233.3 million in Department of Justice grant programs to address gun violence and keep our communities safe, including $78.3 million for all states to improve the quality of criminal and mental health records so interstate background checks are more effective. It also includes $10 million to train local police on response to active shooter situations through POLICE Act grants; $12 million for improved officer safety through VALOR grants; $8 million for Community Based Violence Prevention grants; and $125 million for STOP School Violence Act grants. 
  • COPS Hiring:  $235 million, an increase of $6.5 million over 2019 level and $136 million more than the President’s request, which will place approximately 1,300 more police officers on the streets of our communities.  
  • Homeland Security:  Includes $665 million, an increase of $25 million, for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, including $50 million for non-profit organizations within UASI areas to help protect religious and other institutions; an additional $40 million, up $30 million, for non-profit organizations outside UASI areas; $710 million for AFG and SAFER grants, up $5 million each to support local firefighters; $355 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants; $125 million for Emergency Food and Shelter; $100 million for Public Transportation Security Assistance grants; $100 million each for Port and Transit Security grants.
  • TRIA Reauthorization:  Includes passage of a seven-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), for which Sen. Menendez is an original co-sponsor. 

Autism, Health and Opioids

  • Autism CARES: Provides $52.3 million, an increase of $1.7 million, to fund research and development of new treatments and therapies authorized through Sen. Menendez’s Autism CARES Act. 
  • Firefighter Cancer Registry: Sen. Menendez secured an additional $1.5 million in funding, bringing the total funding for the program to $2.5 million. His Firefighter Cancer Registry Act became law in 2018 and creates a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease and calls on the CDC to monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the incidence of cancer in firefighters.
  • Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO): Secures $5 million for the Alternatives to Opioids national pilot program, passed by Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker and inspired by the pioneering work at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. to reduce the use of opiates for pain management in the emergency room.
  • Opioid Funding:  $3.8 billion to fight opioid use, including $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants.
  • CREATES Act: Includes final passage of the Senator’s legislation which will help rein in skyrocketing prescription drug costs by making it easier for lower-cost generics to come to market.
  • Tobacco & E-Cigs: Raises the age to 21 to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette products.
  • Kay Hagan Tick Act: Includes passage of legislation cosponsored by Sen. Menendez to require the development and implementation of a nation strategy for vector- borne diseases, like Lyme’s disease.
  • NIH Funding: Includes a $2.6 billion increase for National Institutes of Health, bringing total funding to $41.7 billion and rejecting President Trump’s proposal to cut the agency by $4.9 billion. This includes significant funding for Alzheimer’s disease and brain research. 
  • Cancer Research:  Sen. Menendez led a bipartisan request to increase funding for both ovarian and prostate cancer research grants and investigations administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. The package includes $35 million for ovarian cancer and $110 million for prostate cancer—a combined $25 million increase.
  • Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education: Includes $340 million, an increase of $15 million to support freestanding, children's hospitals to help them maintain their graduate medical education (GME) programs that train resident physicians and dentists.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Amtrak: Increases funding dedicated to the Northeast Corridor by $50 million over FY 19, for a total $700 million that can be tapped in part to fund the Gateway Project. 
  • Transit formula funds: Provides full funding of approximately $640 million for New Jersey’s transit infrastructure, which in part can be used to fund the Gateway Project.  The bill also includes bonus transit formula dollars on top of the guaranteed levels.
  • Preserves $75 million in New Jersey Transit funding: The bill prevents the application of the Rostenkowski Rule, a test for the solvency of the Mass Transit Account.  Without this language, New Jersey would have seen a $75 million cut in its transit apportionment.
  • Teterboro Airport: Extends Sen. Menendez’s provision prohibiting changes to the weight limits at Teterboro Airport. The provision prevents larger, noisier aircraft from accessing the airport, protecting the airport’s infrastructure and improving quality of life for residents in surrounding neighborhoods.  
  • New Jersey Army Corps Projects: Includes more than $123.5 million for New Jersey Army Corps projects.

Election Security

  • Provides more than $425 million in election security grants to help secure America’s 2020 elections—nearly double the amount that Senate Republicans reluctantly supported in earlier Senate legislation.

Education

  • Child Care/Early Childhood Education: Provides a $550 million increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant for a program total of $5.826 billion, more than doubling funding from three years ago. Head Start also received a $550 million increase, bringing it to a record level of $10.6 billion.
  • Title IV: $1.2 billion for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, a $40 million increase, which supports a wide range of activities including STEM education and school safety activities.
  • IDEA: $13.6 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA/Special Education grants to states, an increase of $410 million, including preschool grants and grants for infants and families.
  • After School Programs: $1.25 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to support academic enrichment activities for students before school, after school, and during the summer, an increase of $28 million. The President proposed to eliminate this funding.
  • Pell Grants: Increases the max Pell grant award by $150 to a record $6,345 per student.
  • Campus-Based Student Aid Programs: $865 million for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), an increase of $25 million, and $1.2 billion for Federal Work Study, an increase of $50 million. The President proposed to eliminate FSEOG entirely and drastically cut work study.
  • Hispanic Serving Institutions: Sen. Menendez led the effort to provide increased funding over FY19 levels for Hispanic Serving Institutions and Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans, including education grants through the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture.
  • Smithsonian Latino Center: Sen. Menendez led the effort to increase funding for Latino Initiatives and the Smithsonian Latino Center to $5 million.

Census

  • Sen. Menendez successfully advocated to provide the Census Bureau with $6.696 billion to execute an accurate and efficient 2020 decennial Census next year.

Military and Defense

  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst: Sen. Menendez secured more than $2.1 billion that was authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act that passed earlier this week to fund 12 KC-46A next generation mid-air refueling tankers that are expected to be delivered by 2021. 
  • Military Pay Raise: Supports a 3.1% pay raise for members of the Armed Forces.
  • National Guard: Provides $1.3 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment account and $1.4 billion for 74 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters

Environment and Energy

  • Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program:  Sen. Menendez successfully secured a 57% increase in funding for this program, which creates partnerships across all levels of government to preserve rivers in a natural, free-flowing condition. The bill includes $3.576 million, nearly $1.3 million over FY19.  Four New Jersey rivers—Great Egg Harbor, Lower Delaware, Maurice, and Musconetcong—benefit from the program. 
  • Climate: Includes a record $2.838 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to support funding for clean energy R&D at the Department of Energy. The bill also includes increased funding for climate science research at NASA and NOAA and significant funding for international efforts to combat climate change.
  • Clean Energy Tax Extenders: Extends the tax credit at full value for investments in wind power; credits for residential and commercial energy efficiency improvements; deductions for energy efficient commercial buildings; the non-business energy property credit, which also applies to improvements for residential homes. 
  • Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: Extends the nine-cent-per-barrel excise tax to fund oil spill remediation.
  • School Lead Testing: The bill provides $26 million for lead contamination testing at schools and child care centers.
  • Clean Water: The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is funded at $1.394 billion, a $245 million increase, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is funded at $1.126 billion, a $262 million increase.  The WIFIA water infrastructure loan program is funded at $7.3 billion, a $600 million increase from FY19.
  • LIHEAP: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) received $3.7 billion, an increase of $50 million. The program provides financial assistance for home heating and cooling to low-income households.

 

Agriculture

  • Cranberry Research: Sen. Menendez secured an additional $750 million in funding for cranberry research for a total $4.7 million to be used for the improvement of cranberry yields, pest management, disease management, and water resource management by developing fields devoted to cranberry research and collection and storage of samples for analysis in appropriate existing laboratory facilities.  New Jersey is one of the country’s leading cranberry producers.
  • Floriculture Crops Report: The Senator secured $500,000 to fund the Floriculture Crops Report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) – a benefit to New Jersey’s large greenhouse industry.
  • Horse slaughter:  Sen. Menendez led a bipartisan effort to ensure the continued prohibition of funding for USDA meat inspectors at horse slaughter plants, effectively prohibiting the ban on horse meat.  Menendez is the Senate leader in the fight to ban horse slaughter.
  • WIC: Senator Menendez worked to secure $6 billion in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which provides funding to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. 

Housing and Community and Economic Development

  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP):  Includes $146 million for the MEP program, a $6 million increase above FY19, in support of this public-private partnership program serving small- and medium sized manufacturers. 
  • Community Development: Includes $175 million, a $25 million increase, for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative to revitalize distressed neighborhoods
  • Housing: Senator Menendez secured $793 million in funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, an increase of $115 million. Senator Menendez also successfully obtained an increase of $17.8 million for the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.
  • CDFI Fund: Sen. Menendez led a request for robust funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund program.  The package provides $262 million for the program. 
  • Rental Assistance: Sen. Menendez secured $12.6 billion for Section 8 project-based rental assistance, an $853 million increase from FY19.

SECURE Act 

  • The package includes the bipartisan SECURE Act that will provide taxpayers with more flexibility and make it easier for businesses to offer retirement benefits to their workers.  

Tax Fixes

  • Mortgage Debt Tax Relief: As part of the 2017-expired extenders, the package extends through 2020 the exclusion of discharged mortgage debt from taxation.  
  • Gold Star Families Fix: Includes a fix to the 2017 GOP tax bill that imposed a high level of tax on survivor benefits to children of fallen soldiers. The fix will also apply to children of deceased first responders. 

 

 

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