Shaheen Secures NH and National Defense Priorities & Continued Opioid Response Resources in Senate-Passed Funding Legislation

August 23, 2018

Government Funding Legislation Includes Shaheen’s Request for $10 Million for the Nationwide PFAS Health-Impact Study She Established in 2018 Defense Bill 

Shaheen Successfully Includes Opioid Epidemic Response Funding Levels Established in Budget Negotiations in February

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate passed government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that funds the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies. Shaheen included several key New Hampshire objectives and national security goals in the bipartisan spending package.

“I appreciate the bipartisan efforts that helped usher this legislation through Congress, and am pleased by the inclusion of a number of priorities that are significant to both New Hampshire and our nation,” said Shaheen. “This bill responds to important issues in our state by including additional funding for the PFAS health-impact study to provide long overdue answers to Granite State families, and by delivering urgently needed response resources to help our first responders turn the tide of the devastating opioid epidemic. I’m also very pleased by the broad support for other objectives impacting our nation and foreign policy concerns, including funding to facilitate the identification of the remains of American service members lost in war, crucial investments to boost our military readiness and necessary funding to begin implementation of my bipartisan bill that bolsters women’s leadership in peace negotiations and conflict resolution around the globe. This bill was the product of good-faith negotiations in both chambers of Congress, and I look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law.”  

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 earlier this month, 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 $105 million in today’s appropriations bill for PFAS remediation in contaminated drinking water supplies across the nation.

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 killed 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 include an amendment that provides an additional $10 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) to bolster women’s leadership in peace negotiations and conflict resolution was signed into law. Funding obtained by Shaheen in today’s appropriations bill provides $3 million to implement key provisions of that bill. The Women, Peace and Security Act advances the priorities outlined in the United States’ National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and 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 $1.5 billion for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funding for State Opioid Response Grants.

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 that passed the Senate today ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY2019. 

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. Earlier this month, 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 $37 million above FY 2018 levels. The funding bill allocates $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 today’s 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.