Continued Opioid Response Funding, $10 Million for PFAS Health-Impact Study Secured By Shaheen Signed Into Law in Appropriations Bill
Shaheen Ushers $10 Million through Congress for 2nd Year of Nationwide PFAS Health-Impact Study She Established in 2018 Defense Bill
Shaheen Ensures Continued Federal Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic Established in Bipartisan Budget Negotiations Earlier this Year
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that funds the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies was signed into law. The bill contains significant New Hampshire priorities, and is the second funding bill for FY2019 to be signed into law. Today’s legislation also contains a continuing resolution to extend support for the remaining agencies that have yet to receive FY2019 funds, averting a government shutdown that otherwise would have occurred with the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. The government funding extension included in today’s bill expires after December 7th.
“The yearly appropriations process affords the important opportunity to deliver meaningful resources to our communities and respond to critical issues impacting Granite Staters and Americans throughout the nation, and I’m glad that this funding bill for 2019 allows for just that,” said Shaheen. “I’m very pleased by the bipartisan support for continued opioid response resources, federal investments to ensure the PFAS health-impact study moves forward and significant funding to prioritize women’s inclusion and engagement in the peace-building process. This bill also addresses important military readiness programs, federal assistance to help identify the remains of American heroes lost in battle and additional funding for pediatric cancer research. These are all significant priorities for New Hampshire and the nation, and I’ll continue to work across the aisle to build on the progress made through this legislation.”
Summary of New Hampshire Priorities Included in FY19 Defense Appropriations Bill:
Funding for PFAS Health-Impact Study & Additional Federal Support for PFAS Remediation in Contaminated Drinking Water
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health impact of emerging contaminants in water supplies, and in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), established the first-ever nationwide health study on the impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, as well as funding for the study in the government funding bill that was signed into law in March. In the annual defense bill that was signed into law in August, Shaheen successfully authorized $10 million for the second year of the study—today’s bill secures that funding. Because of Shaheen’s efforts, the Pease International Tradeport will serve as the model site for the nationwide PFAS health study. Shaheen also procured $134 million in today’s appropriations bill for PFAS remediation in contaminated drinking water supplies across the nation. The final legislation also includes $45 million for aqueous firefighting foam replacement and disposal, and PFAS investigation and mitigation on military bases.
Federal Support to Help Identify the Remains of POW/MIAs from Conflicts Including the Korean War
Senator Shaheen has made returning the remains of service members missing in action a top priority. Since she began serving in Congress in 2009, Shaheen has worked diligently on behalf of Granite State families to return the remains of their loved ones lost in war. In 2016, Shaheen successfully added an amendment to North Korea Sanctions legislation, which was signed into law, to protect efforts to recover the remains of American service members in North Korea. In today’s funding legislation, Senator Shaheen supported efforts to increase funding of an additional $30 million for the Defense Personnel Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is the agency responsible for identifying remains of POWs and MIAs from conflicts around the world, including the Korean War.
Federal Investments to Procure KC-46 Aerial Refueling Tankers
Shaheen fought to include funding for 15 KC-46 aerial refueling tankers, a substantial investment in the KC-46A Aerial Refueling Tanker program, which will be based at Pease Air National Guard Base. In last year’s NDAA, Shaheen was successful in securing authorization of funding to ensure the Air Force would continue the development of the program, which is a significant economic benefit to Pease and the surrounding community. Today’s bill also includes additional funding for facility upgrades to support the aircraft.
Support for Shipbuilding Programs
Building on previous efforts to construct additional Virginia-class submarines, Senator Shaheen worked to include funding for 13 new ships, including 2 Virginia-class. These added investments will help mitigate an attack submarine shortfall projected for some time after 2020. Senator Shaheen has long been a steadfast supporter of the Virginia-class.
Implementation of Shaheen Legislation to Bolster Women’s Leadership in Peace Negotiations & Conflict Resolution
Last year, Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was signed into law, mandating the first government-wide strategy to bolster women’s leadership in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. Funding obtained by Shaheen in today’s appropriations bill provides $4 million to implement key provisions of that bill and to hire gender advisors who amongst other duties, help conduct outreach to various populations in support of U.S. operations. The Women, Peace and Security Act ensures the United States continues to advocate for women’s inclusion and engagement in the peace-building process to prevent, moderate and resolve violent conflict.
Federal Assistance for the ‘Beyond Yellow Ribbon’ Program to Help Granite State Service Members & Families
Senator Shaheen helped secure $20 million for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon (BYR) program, which funds the New Hampshire National Guard’s Care Coordination Program. BYR programs provide outreach services to troops returning from deployment, including health care, marriage and financial counseling, substance misuse treatment and mental health services.
Summary of New Hampshire Priorities Included in FY19 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill:
Extension of Equivalent Funding for Opioid Response Efforts Secured in Previous Omnibus Spending Bill
Senator Shaheen secured opioid response funding levels promised in budget negotiations in February. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
A member of the Common Sense Caucus, Senator Shaheen helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. She has also led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses, at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to the substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire. The legislation signed into law today ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY2019.
Federal Support to Establish National Cancer Registry for Firefighters
This legislation includes $1 million to implement the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which Senator Shaheen cosponsored. Today’s funding bill bolsters efforts to implement a national cancer registry that firefighters can voluntarily use to report cancer incidences. The registry tracks data on cancer rates among firefighters and helps identify cancer-related environmental risk factors associated with firefighting. Firefighters are more likely to be exposed to PFAS chemicals, which is found in firefighting foam. Combating PFAS exposure is an issue that Senator Shaheen has prioritized in Congress. Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen participated in a Senate hearing on PFAS exposure and efforts to confront contamination in drinking water supplies.
Continued Efforts on Pediatric Cancer Research
Senator Shaheen supported a bipartisan amendment with Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) that will further efforts in Congress to help identify causes of cancer clusters and high pediatric cancer rates, which have particularly impacted New Hampshire. This provision will provide local health departments with better guidelines on how to track these types of cancers. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that between 2003 and 2014, New Hampshire had the highest pediatric cancer rate in the country—with 205 pediatric cancer cases per 1,000,000 in the population. In August, Senator Shaheen successfully added an amendment to appropriations legislation that passed the Senate, which will bolster research on pediatric cancer by providing support for public outreach to raise awareness of contributing factors for pediatric cancers in the Granite State.
Increased Funding for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) & Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
Shaheen fought to increase funding levels for NIDA, within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and successfully increased funding by $36 million above FY 2018 levels. The funding bill allocates nearly $1.42 billion for NIDA, which will be used in a number of ways, including research grants to examine non-addictive pain therapies, opioid addiction research, pain management studies and addiction treatment research.
Additionally, Shaheen helped negotiate $1.858 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which is an increase of $80 million over last year’s funding levels.
Key Federal Investments in Before-and After-School Programs
Last year, Senator Shaheen pressed Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the importance of funding 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), which support 69 after-school programs and more than 8,000 students in New Hampshire. Though the President’s budget proposal for FY 2019 sought to eliminate the grant program, Senator Shaheen fought to ensure continued funding and helped deliver $1.2 billion in this funding legislation.
Increased Funding for Mental Health Care in Schools
Senator Shaheen cosponsored a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) that allocates $10 million within funding for Safe Schools National Activities to support partnerships between higher education institutions and high-need states and school districts to boost the number of trained school-based mental health professionals. New Hampshire is currently experiencing a shortage of school psychologists.