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In Case You Missed It: Shaheen Helps Advance Key NH Priorities in Government Funding Legislation

(Washington, DC) -- Last week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, participated in a full committee markup of key government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2024. The two bills – the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024 and the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Acts for Fiscal Year 2024 – passed the committee with support from both Democrats and Republicans. As a senior member of the committee, Senator Shaheen helped include and supported a number of provisions directly impacting New Hampshire communities, families and industries.  

In addition, Shaheen specifically worked to advance $22.9 million in congressionally directed spending (CDS) awards, which if included in final legislation and approved by Congress, will be directly awarded to specified New Hampshire recipients. The CDS process invests in a range of Granite State priorities throughout the state, including water infrastructure, health care facility investments, educational training, resources to combat homelessness and food insecurity, support for substance use disorder programs and much more. As a reminder, Shaheen successfully included more than $111 million in CDS awards for New Hampshire in last year’s spending bill. 

"I’m excited to share that the Appropriations Committee is making important progress on the annual government funding legislation for the next year. The funding bills we’ve considered so far address a myriad of issues directly impacting New Hampshire – from investments in public shipyards like the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to conservation programs, substance use disorder treatment and much more. But this is just the first hurdle,” said Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. “As we continue our work in the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be sure to fight for key programs that address the needs of working families in New Hampshire and across the nation.  And I’ll specifically fight to see robust investments in Granite State projects through the congressionally directed spending process, which levels the playing field for our state to ensure New Hampshire gets its fair share.” 

Summary of Shaheen Priorities Included in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024: 

Modernizing Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) Infrastructure  

Senator Shaheen worked to advance the PNSY Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, which fully funds the multi-mission dry dock project at $544 million. This project is integral to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's modernization and expansion over the next several years. It aims to address the shallow levels at PNSY and its impediment to the docking and undocking of submarines, as well as expand the Shipyard to accommodate the larger Virginia-class submarines and add a submarine berth.  

Expanding Opioid Education at VA Facilities & Investing in Alternative Pain Management  

Senator Shaheen worked to include $254,487,000 for Jason’s Law, which will go towards efforts to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs follows policies to reduce the over-prescription and overuse of opioids for pain management, including by deploying non-opioid pain management methods and making available opioid receptor antagonists, including naloxone.  Senator Shaheen has long worked on policies to assist veterans in recovery as veterans have been acutely affected by the opioid crisis. 

In addition, Senator Shaheen successfully included language in the government funding bill encouraging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand the use of alternative treatments for pain management, such as acupuncture, in its delivery of health care services. This would also require the VA to consider integrating alternative treatment into VA medical centers and clinics. A leader in the Senate on efforts to respond to the substance misuse epidemic, Shaheen previously introduced the Acupuncture for our Heroes Act to expand access to acupuncturist services for veterans enrolled in the VA health care system. According to a report by the Veterans Health Administration, 80 percent of VA providers identified acupuncture as one of the top three services most often requested by veterans.  

Combatting PFAS Exposure & Protecting First Responders from PFAS Contamination 

In addition, the Committee included report language, at the request of Senator Shaheen, on PFAS and military firefighters. The language directs the VA to report on its recommended guidance for blood testing, including for military firefighters who were exposed to aqueous firefighting foam (AFFF). The language also calls on the VA to establish and maintain a registry for veterans who may have been exposed to PFAS on account of exposure to AFFF.  

Senator Shaheen leads efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. In the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee and signed into law, Senator Shaheen included numerous PFAS provisions, including the authorization of an additional $20 million to continue the PFAS health impact study that she created in the 2018 NDAA. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. In addition, Senator Shaheen added an amendment that would prohibit the DoD from purchasing PFAS laden firefighting turnout gear after Oct. 1, 2026. This follows Shaheen-led efforts to expand blood testing and treatment for firefighters exposed to PFAS and a similar amendment she secured to ban the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in the FY 2020 NDAA. In December 2022, legislation Shaheen cosponsored – the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act – was signed into law, which directs federal agencies to develop best practices, training and educational programs to reduce, limit and prevent PFAS exposure. 

Senator Shaheen also included the following Congressionally Directed Spending Items: 

Support for the New Hampshire National Guard

Senator Shaheen worked to include $18,000,000  to fund three separate projects for the New Hampshire National Guard. This includes $9,000,000 to build a new physical fitness center in Strafford that is designed to provide soldiers with the resources needed to meet and maintain the physical fitness requirements for the New Hampshire Army National Guard. The bill also includes $5,000,000 for the New Hampshire Army National Guard Pembroke Readiness Center. Funding would be used to install a 9,450 square-foot parking canopy and solar rooftop array to provide covered parking for military vehicles as well as to significantly reduce the facility’s energy costs. $4,000,000 is also included for the New Hampshire Air National Guard to replace out-of-code fuel storage containers to ensure safe and environmentally protective ground fueling infrastructure. 

Summary of Shaheen Priorities Included in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Acts for Fiscal Year 2024 

Combating the Youth Vaping Crisis  

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the U.S. Senate on policies that combat the youth vaping crisis.  The government funding bill includes a provision addressing concern over youth use of e-cigarettes and urges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use its full authority to address the serious public health concern. The second Shaheen provision, on synthetic nicotine products, underscores concern about unauthorized e-cigarette products in the market and urges the FDA to pursue all legal authority to remove unlawfully sold nicotine products from the marketplace.  

Senator Shaheen led the bipartisan, bicameral introduction of the Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act, which would require that e-cigarette manufacturers pay user fees to the FDA to help to fund more activity at the FDA to conduct stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase awareness for the danger of e-cigarettes. In the FY 2023 government funding bill, Shaheen helped negotiate more than $2.408 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. The proposal also included report language added by Shaheen to address youth e-cigarette use and encourages NIDA to support research to develop therapies to combat pediatric nicotine addiction. Earlier this year, Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling on the FDA to take long-overdue action to combat the youth vaping crisis, including steps that could remove kid-friendly, addictive e-cigarettes from the market. In February, Shaheen reintroduced her bipartisan legislation that would crack down on e-cigarette companies and close a tax loophole that allows manufacturers to claim federal tax deductions for the cost of advertising for e-cigarettes and tobacco products.  

Investing in Research and Development of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Cures 

Senator Shaheen successfully included an amendment authored by Shaheen and cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), that urges the FDA to prioritize research and development of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes cures, namely islet therapies. The language also urges the FDA to further engage with stakeholders on advancing transformative diabetes treatments and cures.  

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Shaheen and Collins have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Collins introduced the Improving Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act of 2023, which would comprehensively address the skyrocketing costs of insulin and remove barriers to care making it more accessible to millions of Americans. Shaheen and Collins have consistently pressed to hold insulin manufacturers, insurers and pharmacy managers accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin.  Earlier this month, bipartisan legislation co-led by Senator Shaheen cleared a key committee hurdle, which would reauthorize and strengthen vital Type 1 diabetes research happening at the National Institutes of Health and renew critical treatment, education and prevention programs for at-risk populations who experience Type 2 diabetes at nearly three times the national average. 

Standing up for Animal Rights & Ending Horse Slaughter  

Senator Shaheen led the inclusion of a provision to continue the current prohibition of horse slaughter in the United States. Senator Shaheen is a dedicated supporter of animal rights causes.                

Prioritizing Conservation Programs for New Hampshire 

Senator Shaheen secured continued funding for the NRCS’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program (SNOTEL), including $1 million to continue the ongoing study regarding potential Northeast expansion of this program. Senator Shaheen secured the initial $1 million for this study in FY2023 government funding legislation. 

Supporting New Hampshire’s Maple Syrup Industry 

Senator Shaheen pushed to secure $7.5 million in level funding for the Acer Access and Development program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill to support the maple industry. This program is currently authorized at up to $20 million, though it has never yet been fully funded, and Senator Shaheen’s recently-introduced MAPLE SYRUP Act would increase the program’s authorization to $30 million and rename the program. In March, Shaheen met with maple producers at Mac Hill Maple Farm to hear about issues facing New Hampshire’s maple industry ahead of the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill. In the 2023 Farm Bill, Shaheen is advocating for federal programs that support New Hampshire maple producers as well as other agricultural producers in the state.  

Preserving and Expanding Housing in Rural Communities 

Senator Shaheen worked to include key provisions from her Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act. Shaheen’s standalone legislation would ensure that hundreds of thousands of low-income tenants in rural areas are able to maintain access to safe and affordable housing. It would protect access to affordable housing for families in rural areas that are often elderly or disabled, who are at risk of losing rental assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS). The provisions secured by Shaheen in the government funding bill would largely implement her legislation and allow USDA rental assistance to continue to be offered to low-income tenants at properties with maturing mortgages. This would preserve rural rental housing options for Granite Staters and Americans across the nation. 

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the Senate working to combat homelessness and help vulnerable Granite Staters. Earlier this year, she led the New Hampshire congressional delegation in announcing over $9 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds headed to New Hampshire. These funds were authorized by congressional Democrats’ American Rescue Plan Act and signed into law by President Biden, which included nearly $50 billion for housing, including support for vulnerable renters and homeowners. This is in addition to the $25 billion in emergency rental assistance included in the December 2020 emergency COVID-19 relief legislation, which Shaheen helped lead as part of the “908 Coalition.” 

Senator Shaheen also included the following Congressionally Directed Spending Items: 

Energy Savings for NH Schools

Senator Shaheen successfully included $2,500,000 million for net-zero energy efficiency projects at two New Hampshire schools. Of this funding, $1,353,000 would be provided to Ashland Elementary School to reduce energy costs by retrofitting two school buildings with solar panels and heat pumps. The other $1,147,000 would be provided to support energy efficiency renovations at the Warren Village School to improve insulation and reduce heating and cooling costs. 

Building a Community Hub in Carroll County

Senator Shaheen helped secure $2,000,000 for the Carroll County Annex Project. This funding would be used to renovate Carroll County’s former nursing home in Ossipee and create a community hub of municipal, educational and social services. This multi-use facility will include County administration offices, classroom and office space to assist non-profit agencies in their delivery of education, health services and vocational training and to provide an emergency response facility for the community.