In Committee-Approved Funding Bill, Shaheen Boosts Funding for Anti-Opioid Grants, PFAS Research & Federal Support to Improve Mental Health Services for Law EnforcementSeptember 30, 2019
**Funding Legislation Continues Financial Relief for New England Fishermen from Costly At-Sea Monitoring Fees**
**Shaheen Secures 4,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Allies**
**Shaheen Includes Measure Directing Federal Agency to Prioritize Communities like NH Experiencing High Rates of Pediatric Cancer**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the lead Democrat of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, successfully secured a number of critical Granite State and national security priorities in bipartisan funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2020 that passed the committee last week and will next be considered by the full Senate. The bills will fund the Legislative Branch, Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, State and other federal agencies throughout the federal government.
“I’m very pleased that the bill approved by the Appropriations Committee includes significant investments that speak to issues we’re facing in New Hampshire, but also as a nation and a leader in our global community,” said Shaheen. “Prioritizing federal support to expand mental health services for law enforcement, boost funding for anti-opioid grants and devote resources to keep our firefighters safe are critical in New Hampshire, but also impact communities throughout the nation. Additionally, I’m very encouraged by the funding provided in this bill to bolster our national security objectives that counter Russian interference in democracies abroad, support women’s global health and keep the United States’ promise to help our Afghan allies who put their lives on the line for our country and mission. I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to move this legislation through Congress and to the President’s desk.”
New Hampshire Priorities Secured by Senator Shaheen for Fiscal Year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Legislation:
Critical Funding for Department of Justice Anti-Opioid Grants
Senator Shaheen procured $505 million for the Department of Justice (DOJ) anti-opioid grant programs, which is an increase of $37 million from FY19 levels. Shaheen also successfully added language to the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program for the DOJ to expand grant categories for new areas to include prevention and education programs for youth, law enforcement assisted diversion, and response teams to assist children dealing with the aftermath of opioid addiction. As the lead Democrat of the Subcommittee, Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to combat the opioid epidemic, and in the FY18 omnibus government funding bill, she helped secure the additional $3.3 billion to combat opioid addiction, including the $142 million set-aside for hardest-hit states.
As a result of the Delegation’s efforts, New Hampshire received a more than ten-fold increase in opioid treatment funding through the State Opioid Response grant program. Shaheen has also recently unveiled sweeping new substance use disorder legislation, the Turn the Tide Act, to help tackle the substance use epidemic and provide resources for Granite Staters struggling with substance misuse. The Turn the Tide Act provides $63 billion in funding over ten years to deliver flexible treatment funding to providers, establish proven prevention programs and address the substantial workforce challenges in the treatment field.
Examine Safety of Firefighters’ Personal Equipment
Shaheen included $2 million for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) personal protective equipment research. Last week, Shaheen introduced new 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.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to address PFAS exposure, and specifically, occupational exposure to the chemicals. The Senate-approved defense bill includes Shaheen’s legislation to confront occupational exposure to PFAS— the Protecting Military Firefighters from PFAS Act, as well as a ban on the Department of Defense from procuring firefighting foam that contains PFAS after October 2022. Last week, Shaheen sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency to develop health monitoring protocols for medical care for children and adults exposed to PFAS.
Highest Funding Level Ever for Violence Against Women Act Programs
For the third year in a row, Senator Shaheen successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs, totaling $500 million.
Grant Funding for States to Improve Mental Health Services for Law Enforcement:
Senator Shaheen worked to add $5 million for the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, of which $3 million will be provided in grants for state and local law enforcement agencies to use for improved mental health services, training to reduce stigma of officers seeking help and programs to address handling repeated exposure to stress and trauma. Currently, federal agencies do not keep statistics regarding police suicide – this legislation would direct the Department of Justice to collect data on this critical issue and report on it.
Continued Financial Relief for New Hampshire and New England Fishermen & Bolstered Investments for NH Ocean Research and Conservation Efforts
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, and also includes $2 million for lobster research, $2.5 million for New England groundfish research, $3 million for research and monitoring of the highly-endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, including a pilot program into innovative lobster gear.
Shaheen successfully increased funding for Sea Grant by $7 million, totaling $75 million nationally. Sea Grant is a public-private partnership and partners with the University of New Hampshire to study marine and coastal resources and developments. Additionally, the bill includes $76.5 million for NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management Grant program, which is a $1 million increase over previous funding levels.
New Hampshire Priorities Secured by Senator Shaheen for Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security Funding Legislation:
Boost in Federal Resources for Department of Homeland Security to Interdict & Investigate Opioid-Related Cases
Senator Shaheen secured $32.9 million for the Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) to support the agency’s efforts of pursuing opioid-related cases, a $2.3 million increase over last year’s funding levels. President Trump’s budget proposal to Congress did not include any federal resources for HIS. Shaheen also successfully included federal resources for non-intrusive inspection equipment and other technologies at the southern border to help interdict drugs. Senator Shaheen has continuously advocated for technological investments at our southern border to effectively stem the flow of illicit drugs into the United States through ports of entry.
Federal Support to Hire More Firefighters
Senator Shaheen bolstered funding for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program, securing $355 million – a $5 million boost over last year’s funding levels.
Additional Federal Resources to Coast Guard Fishing Safety Training & Research Grants
Senator Shaheen worked to include $6 million for Coast Guard fishing safety training and research grants. Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced bipartisan legislation with Senators Markey (D-MA), Sullivan (R-AK), King (I-ME), Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), Warren (D-MA) and Hassan (D-NH) – the Funding Instruction for Safety Health, and Security Avoids Fishing Emergencies (FISH SAFE) Act—which would restore the federal share of fishing safety training and research grants. Understanding the daunting conditions that fishermen face on the job, Senator Shaheen has worked across the aisle to support fishing safety programs.
New Hampshire Priorities Secured by Senator Shaheen for Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Interior Funding Legislation:
Increased Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to Preserve Lands in NH & Across the Nation
Senator Shaheen successfully secured $465 million in federal funding – $30 million over previous funding levels – for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps preserve and maintain critical lands for national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and recreational areas across the country. Shaheen has led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for the LWCF, which has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and supported tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation. Shaheen’s bipartisan bill was included in legislation that was signed into law earlier this year that permanently reauthorized the LWCF.
Continued Efforts to Remediate PFAS-Contaminated Sites & More Support for Efforts to Address Pediatric Cancer in New Hampshire
Senator Shaheen helped secure 20 million in additional funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help states address PFAS contamination and remediation. The funding bill also includes language authored by Shaheen that urges the EPA to expeditiously remediate Superfund sites contaminated by emerging contaminants, including PFAS. Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS exposure and remediate polluted sites. The Senate-passed defense bill includes an additional $10 million to support the PFAS health impact study she established in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as well as her bipartisan bill with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to expedite analysis of water contaminants like PFAS.
Senator Shaheen also added measures directing the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to expand its support of Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) and direct PEHSUs to focus on outreach and education to communities impacted by pediatric cancer clusters – including New Hampshire – and states with abnormally high rates of pediatric cancer. This effort builds on prior successful efforts in the FY 2019 Interior appropriations bill, where Congress directed ATSDR to increase support for awareness and public outreach for states like New Hampshire with high rates of pediatric cancer. A report released last year 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. Following the report, Shaheen led a congressional delegation letter to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), urging the agency to focus on the potential connection of PFAS exposure and pediatric cancer.
Revitalizing America’s Forest Economy
Shaheen also secured $5 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP), a competitive grant program that aims to assist with the costs of installing high-efficiency, biomass-fueled energy systems. This is the first time this program has received funds since it was first authorized in 2008. Senator Shaheen has long advocated for America’s forests and initiatives that would survey and repurpose biomass for clean energy uses. Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act – was included in the Farm bill signed into last year. Their bipartisan bill expands eligibility for CWEP, incentivizes investments in energy-efficient wood energy systems and supports facilities that repurpose low-grade, low-value wood that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
Support for New Hampshire Public Lands
The bill also includes language authored by Shaheen urging the U.S. Forest Service to improve coordination with state agencies and local partners to address the land management and law enforcement costs that have fallen to these local entities. While the cost of federal land management has grown substantially, much of the responsibility for daily activities on this land falls to state and local agencies. In New Hampshire, conservation officers patrol and are called upon to enforce laws and conduct search and rescue operations on more than 700,000 acres in the White Mountain National Forest. Last year, Shaheen led the New Hampshire delegation in a letter to the U.S. Forest Service [and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service] urging them to meet with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to discuss potential funding options to cover these federal land management expenses.
Priorities Secured by Senator Shaheen for Fiscal Year 2020 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Funding Legislation:
Reauthorize Afghan Special Immigrant Visas
As the lead in the Senate for the continuation of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, Senator Shaheen included 4,000 additional Afghan SIVs in this spending legislation. The SIV program is the only path to ensuring the safety of Afghan allies that have aided U.S. service members and diplomats. Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts in Congress to reauthorize additional Afghan SIVs, and historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on this priority. Shaheen introduced new bipartisan legislation earlier this year that would reauthorize 4,000 Afghan SIVs for FY 2020.
Significant Federal Investment in Global Family Planning & Reproductive Health
Though Republican leadership set a dangerous partisan precedent in blocking Senator Shaheen from offering an amendment to stop the dangerous Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule which is having a detrimental impact on family planning services around the world, Shaheen successfully included $665 million for international family planning and reproductive health care, including funds for the United Nations Population Fund. Shaheen also added an amendment that instructs USAID to create a first-ever mechanism to examine the charges of discrimination in response to reports that patients have been denied services. The investigation would ensure biases by the administration regarding reproductive health do not interfere or alter the delivery of services on the ground.
The Global Gag Rule is an executive order that bans federal funds for foreign non-governmental organizations that use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of comprehensive family planning services. This forces clinics to choose between providing limited reproductive health services while accepting U.S. foreign aid or providing inclusive family planning and reproductive health care with a limited budget. The ill-conceived policy was rescinded by the Obama administration, only to be reinstated and expanded under the Trump administration. Days after taking office in 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that significantly expanded the policy from previous administrations by applying the ban to every program that falls under global health assistance at the Department of State, USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts in Congress to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule.
Deter Russian Influence
Senator Shaheen included $275 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund, which helps bolster the defenses of nations under threat of Russian influence and interference throughout Europe and Eurasia. Senator Shaheen is a cosponsor of an amendment to funding legislation that recently passed the Appropriations Committee that would provide $250 million to help the states prevent election interference.
Senator Shaheen has led calls in the Senate for investment and reforms to prevent attacks on our democracy which includes introducing legislation that would require presidential campaigns to report foreign interference in U.S. elections. She has also led efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its election interference. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her efforts to hold Russia accountable for its aggression, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017.
Direct Secretary of State to Comply with Law & Prioritize Afghan Women’s Inclusion in Peace Negotiations
Shaheen added her provision directing the Secretary of State to comply with the Women, Peace and Security Act– which she authored with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)—to prioritize Afghan women’s inclusion in ongoing peace negotiations.
The Women, Peace and Security Act bolsters women’s roles in peace negotiations and conflict resolution around the world. Shaheen has led efforts in Congress pushing the Trump administration to prioritize Afghan women’s inclusion in ongoing peace negotiations. In February, Shaheen led a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the administration to prioritize women’s inclusion in peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and to protect the United States’ investment in the rights of women and girls. During a Senate Foreign Relations hearing in April, Shaheen repeatedly asked Secretary of State Pompeo to commit to making Afghan women’s inclusion in negotiations a foreign policy priority, to which he refused. Earlier this year, Shaheen met with women leaders in Afghanistan about the urgency and importance of their representation in the peace talks.
Next Article Previous Article