Heading to President’s Desk: Shaheen Secures $50M to Construct New England Drug Lab to Improve Response to Substance Use Disorder CrisisDecember 22, 2020
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) - the Vice Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee - which funds significant programming to address the substance use disorder epidemic, issued the following statement after final fiscal year (FY) 2021 government funding legislation was sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Through her leadership on the CJS subcommittee, Senator Shaheen successfully added measures that provide federal support for key programs that respond to the substance use disorder crisis, help domestic and sexual violence survivors, invest in law enforcement programs and much more.
"The provisions I wrote with Senator Moran and our fellow CJS subcommittee members address a myriad of issues impacting Granite Staters, including efforts to confront the substance use disorder crisis, resources for domestic and sexual violence survivors, increased mental health care services for first responders, enhanced community policing and much more,” said Shaheen. “The priorities in this bill respond to what I’ve heard in New Hampshire and what I know many Americans are experiencing throughout the country, much of which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. I’m particularly pleased that my provision providing funding to construct New England’s first DEA drug lab was approved, which will help close a serious gap in our substance use disorder response strategy. Currently, DEA samples that may contain fentanyl must be transported by ground to New York and back, delaying testing and wasting valuable time. Establishing a DEA drug lab in our region will ensure our law enforcement are as efficient as possible in their efforts and will help alleviate the significant delays we’ve seen at the overwhelmed New York facility. I’m so pleased this bill will soon become law and look forward to seeing construction on this lab get underway so our region can continue to improve its response strategy to the substance use disorder epidemic.”
Senator Shaheen was also a lead negotiator on the COVID-19 relief included in the legislation, steering negotiations on the provisions to assist small businesses and child care centers, and to respond to the food insecurity and substance use disorder crisis that have been exacerbated by COVID. Read more about that here.
A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen also worked to support numerous key New Hampshire priorities addressed in the final government funding bill, including a 3 percent pay raise for service members, investments at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, continued funding for the PFAS health impact study Shaheen established and much more.
NH Priorities Secured by Shaheen in FY21 Senate Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Subcommittee Appropriations Legislation:
Critical Funding for Department of Justice Anti-Opioid Grants
Senator Shaheen successfully included $541.5 million for the Department of Justice anti-opioid and substance abuse grant programs, which is an increase of $23.5 million above the FY2020 level. Shaheen also successfully retained language she added last year to allow grant recipients to be able to use Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) funding – which this year will be up to $185 million – to also help those suffering from meth and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorder. The expanded coverage for COSSAP was spurred by Shaheen’s standalone bill, the Turn the Tide Act, to help tackle the substance use disorder epidemic.
As the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds major anti-opioid programs, Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to combat the substance use disorder epidemic. In the FY2018 omnibus government funding bill, Shaheen helped secure the additional $3.3 billion to combat the substance use disorder crisis, including the $142 million set-aside for hardest-hit states. As a result of the New Hampshire congressional delegation’s efforts, New Hampshire received a more than ten-fold increase in opioid treatment funding through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program.
New DEA Drug Laboratory in New England
Senator Shaheen successfully secured $50 million in this legislation for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to construct a new drug laboratory in New England, which presently does not have one, to improve lab testing in the region. Currently, if a DEA sample may contain fentanyl it must be transported separately by ground transportation to the laboratory in New York City due to laws prohibiting its transfer through the mail. This process has been incredibly difficult for the region because agents must physically transport any samples that might contain fentanyl, resulting in hours of travel to New York City and back. The New York Division is also one of the busiest for DEA, and a lab in New England will help both Divisions meet drug testing demands.
Grant Funding for States to Improve Mental Health Services for Law Enforcement & Enhancing Police-Community Relations
Senator Shaheen successfully added $8 million for the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which includes grant funding for state and local law enforcement agencies to use for improved mental health services for officers, training to reduce the stigma of officers seeking help and programs to address handling repeated exposure to stress and trauma. Shaheen boosted this investment by $3 million over previous funding levels. In last year’s legislation, Shaheen included language directing the Department of Justice to – for the first time – collect data on law enforcement suicides and report on it. Senator Shaheen successfully retained that directive in this government funding legislation and added $3 million for the Bureau of Justice Statistics to carry out this measure.
Senator Shaheen also added $153.5 million in Department of Justice (DOJ) grants to improve police-community relations, which is an increase of $67 million or 77% above the FY2020 level. The legislation also includes $5 million for the DOJ to create and maintain a database to track excessive use of force and officer misconduct to increase transparency and accountability so officers who’ve committed violations cannot move from department to department undetected. Additionally, Senator Shaheen fought to include $237 million in COPS Hiring Program grants, which support state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies’ ability to hire, preserve and/or rehire law enforcement officers and to increase community policing efforts. This is a $2 million increase over previous funding levels. The legislation also includes $484 million for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, which helps law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire and across the country, strengthens the criminal justice system and bolsters services for victims of crime.
Highest Funding Level Ever for Violence Against Women Act Programs
For the fourth year in a row, Senator Shaheen successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs, totaling $513.5 million for the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). This funding legislation boosts funding to eight OVW programs, including the Transitional Housing Program and Rural Program, two key areas with a high need that will help states like New Hampshire. In September, Shaheen announced more than $1 million for New Hampshire organizations to provide transitional housing and other housing assistance to domestic and sexual violence survivors.
Examine Safety of Firefighters’ Personal Equipment
Shaheen included $2 million for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) personal protective equipment research. Last year, Shaheen introduced the Guaranteeing Equipment Safety for Firefighters Act, bipartisan legislation with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), which would take important steps to address concerns regarding firefighters’ occupational exposure to PFAS chemicals through their personal protective equipment. This legislation was passed by Congress earlier this month as part of the annual defense authorization package.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to address PFAS exposure, and specifically, occupational exposure to the chemicals. Last year's defense bill included Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation, the Protecting Military Firefighters from PFAS Act, requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to include blood testing for PFAS as part of routine physicals for military firefighters, as well as a provision authored by Shaheen that would phase out the use of PFAS in DOD firefighting foams by 2024.
Shaheen established the first-ever nationwide PFAS health impact study in the FY 2018 annual defense bill and fought for Pease International Tradeport to be included in the study. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study. The study at Pease is actively seeking participants.
Continued Financial Relief for New Hampshire and New England Fishermen & Bolstered Investments for NH Ocean Research and Conservation Efforts
Senator Shaheen has repeatedly prevented the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from imposing the costly at-sea monitoring fee on Granite State fishermen and once again secured necessary funding to prevent the burden from being imposed on fishermen. The bill includes $10.3 million to cover the observer fees, as well as $2 million for lobster research, $2.5 million for New England groundfish research and $5 million for research and monitoring of the highly-endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, including a pilot program into innovative lobster gear. Senator Shaheen also led bipartisan negotiations on COVID-19 relief to provide $13 billion for support for agriculture and fisheries.
Shaheen successfully increased funding for Sea Grant by $1 million, totaling $75 million nationally. Shaheen worked to include a new $500,000 set aside for research into PFAS impacts on coastal waters. Sea Grant is a public-private partnership and collaborates with the University of New Hampshire to study marine and coastal resources and developments. Additionally, the bill includes $78.5 million for NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management Grant program, which is a $1.5 million increase over previous funding levels and temporarily removes State cost share requirements during the pandemic. This legislation also boosts funding for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System operations by $1 million, which supports New Hampshire’s Great Bay. Senator Shaheen also worked to secure $182 million for NOAA climate research, a $12.5 million or seven percent increase above the fiscal year 2020 level, rejecting the Trump administration’s effort to cut the program by $85 million in its budget proposal.
Increased Funding for the Economic Development Administration
Senator Shaheen secured $346 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which awards infrastructure and planning grants to communities around the country. This level is an increase of $13 million above the prior year. Shaheen also included language directing EDA, in partnership with the Northern Border Regional Commission, to provide federal resources for communities impacted by forest product closures. The Senator has consistently opposed efforts by the administration to reduce or eliminate funding for the EDA, which in recent years has awarded grants to Granite State communities for a wide variety of projects ranging from supporting manufacturing growth in Winchester to establishing a revolving loan fund for businesses in Rockingham County.
Bolsters Research to Understand the Sun and its Impacts on Earth
Senator Shaheen included $751 million for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Heliophysics Division to study the Sun and its impact on the space environment around the Earth. The results of these studies improve our understanding of the universe and Earth’s magnetic field and can help protect astronauts, satellites and communication signals, such as GPS, in space. This funding represents a $26.5 million increase above the FY2020 level and rejects the Trump administration’s efforts to cut the program by $91.4 million. The University of New Hampshire is a leading institution in Heliophysics research with instruments on 16 of 22 operating heliophysics missions.
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