Shaheen Secures NH Priorities to Boost Investments in NBRC & Fund Dredging of Rye Harbor in Committee-Approved Funding Legislation

September 12, 2019

**Shaheen Secures Funding to Prioritize Maintenance Dredging of Rye Harbor & Saves Northern Border Regional Commission from Elimination, Boosts Federal Investments for the Program**

**Biggest Pay Increase for Service Members in Nearly a Decade & Pay Raise for Civilian Workers at PNSY**

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2020 that funds the Departments of Defense and Energy, as well as important infrastructure projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, successfully secured a number key New Hampshire objectives that invest in the state’s priorities, including:

  • $5 Million boost in funds for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) over last year’s funding, and once again saved the program from being eliminated – which the President’s budget sought to do. NBRC would be funded at $25 million next fiscal year under this legislation;
  • $7.75 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) – a $751.5 million increase in funding over last year’s funding – to support infrastructure priorities throughout the country, including funds for maintenance dredging at Rye Harbor;
  • Federal investments to procure KC-46 refueling tankers and support for shipbuilding programs;
  • Additional $10 million to continue per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) health impact study Shaheen established in 2018 national defense bill; and
  • 3.1 percent pay raise for service members – the largest increase in nearly 10 years – and a 2.6 percent pay increase for civilian workforce, which impacts Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers.

SUMMARY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIORITIES INCLUDED IN FY20 DEFENSE APPROPRATIONS BILL:

Funding for PFAS Health Impact Study & Additional Federal Assistance for PFAS Remediation at Contaminated Sites

Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. In the committee-approved defense bill, Shaheen secured an additional $10 million to support the PFAS health impact study she established in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Shaheen successfully authorized the funding through the FY 2020 NDAA, which was approved by the Senate earlier this year. Today’s legislation also includes $43 million for aqueous firefighting foam replacement and disposal, and $200 million for PFAS remediation at military bases.

The Senate-passed NDAA also includes a significant package of legislation, cosponsored by Shaheen, aimed at combating PFAS exposure. This PFAS package includes Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which would expedite analysis of water contaminants like PFAS and provide support and resources to states dealing with the health challenges posed by these potentially harmful materials. Shaheen also successfully added her legislation with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to the defense bill that would confront occupational exposure to PFAS— the Protecting Military Firefighters from PFAS Act. The bipartisan bill would require the Department of Defense to include blood testing for PFAS as part of routine physicals for military firefighters. Shaheen and Murkowski previously called on federal health agencies to prioritize studies on the health effects of firefighters exposed to PFAS. 

Additionally, Shaheen secured a provision that would ban the Department of Defense from procuring firefighting foam that contains PFAS after October 1, 2022 and would prohibit its use in the military after October 1, 2023.

Investments at Pease Air National Guard Base 

Senator Shaheen fought to procure 12 KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers. Thanks to strong advocacy by Senator Shaheen and the New Hampshire National Guard, Pease was selected as the Air Force’s first Air National Guard KC-46 main operating base, an economic benefit to Pease and the surrounding community. The KC-46 replaces the Air Force’s 1950’s-era aerial refueling fleet of KC-135s and will serve as the backbone of American air operations for decades to come. The last KC-135 departed Pease in March to make way for the KC-46. Shaheen participated in the arrival event for the first KC-46 to Pease in August.

Military Readiness Priorities for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Shaheen worked to authorize the procurement of two new Virginia-class submarines—which are repaired and maintained at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—as well as the authorization of funds for advanced procurement to mitigate an attack submarine shortfall. Senator Shaheen has long been a steadfast supporter of the Virginia-class, and a fierce advocate for Shipyard priorities.

Support for Military Spouse Occupational Licensing 

Senator Shaheen secured $4 million to implement her bipartisan legislation with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) that would improve the portability of occupational licenses from state to state for military spouses. Shaheen and Cotton added their legislation to the FY2020 NDAA that passed the Senate in June. Shaheen introduced the standalone legislation earlier this year, which would help alleviate the burden military spouses endure when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member gets relocated to a new military installation. At a press conference with Senator Cotton and Second Lady Karen Pence in May, Shaheen highlighted the story of Andrea Krull, whose husband is a Granite Stater, and her personal experience of having to continuously re-establish her business as a consultant with every move. 

Implementation of Shaheen Legislation to Bolster Women’s Leadership in Peace Negotiations & Conflict Resolution  

In 2017, Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was signed into law, requiring the U.S. Government to encourage the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention and peace negotiations—for the first time. To complement this mandate, Shaheen secured funding for the first time last year to implement key provisions of that bill. This year, Shaheen has yet again secured $4 million to streamline women, peace and security priorities at the Department of Defense 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—worldwide. 

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 FY20 ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATIONS BILL:

Shaheen Saves NBRC from Elimination & Boosts Federal Investments Above Last Year’s Funding Level 

Senator Shaheen helped secured $25 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission, which is a $5 million increase above the FY2019 funding level and the highest the program has ever been funded. President Trump’s budget proposal sought to eliminate the program entirely. In March, Shaheen and members of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation vowed to fight the President’s efforts to cut funding for the program. The NBRC helps address community and economic development needs throughout the Northern Forest region. Last year, Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation to extend the authorization of the NBRC and expand its reach to include Cheshire County and communities in Belknap County was included the Farm Bill, which was signed into law. Today’s funding legislation also includes $500,000 for the establishment of the NBRC State Capacity Building Grant Program, a new program Shaheen established to increase the region’s capacity for business retention and expansion, increase access to high-speed broadband, and other critical infrastructure.

Prioritization of Maintenance Dredging for Rye Harbor 

Senator Shaheen helped procure $7.75 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to complete necessary infrastructure projects in New Hampshire and across the country. This is $751.5 million above last year’s funding level, and includes the funding necessary to begin maintenance dredging of Rye Harbor. Shaheen also added language to the bill that urges the Corps to expedite scheduled maintenance at small and low-use ports that have experienced unexpected levels of deterioration since their last dredging, such as Rye Harbor. Once funding legislation is approved by Congress, the Corps will develop its Work Plan for FY2020, in which Senator Shaheen will continue to urge the Corps to prioritize maintenance dredging at Rye Harbor. Senator Shaheen has continuously pushed for dredging at the harbor, writing a letter to the Corps last October urging them to prioritize the project and touring the harbor last month to see the shoaling up close and discuss the issue with Corps officials and local fishermen. 

After continued advocacy by Shaheen, last year the Corps included emergency dredging for Hampton-Seabrook Harbor in its 2019 Work Plan.

Continued Support for Research and Development in Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Programs

Senator Shaheen worked to secure nearly $2.8 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which is an increase of over $400 million above last year’s funding level. This includes $303.5 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a program long-championed by Senator Shaheen that helps to lower energy costs for low-income families by making energy efficiency modifications to their homes. The funding in this year’s bill for WAP also increased by $46.5 million.

The bill also includes $55 million for the State Energy Program (SEP), which assists states with the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. President Trump’s budget request for FY 2020 ended funding for both of these programs.

The funding measure also includes Shaheen’s Investing in State Energy Act, which would prevent undue delay in distributing the WAP and SEP funds to state agencies and local partners. 

Promoting American Energy Jobs 

Senator Shaheen worked to include language requiring the Department of Energy (DOE) to publish an annual energy and employment report to quantify energy jobs in the United States, and examine energy production and distribution sectors of the economy. 

The U.S. energy sector is a major driver of job creation and economic growth. Shaheen’s provision will help improve our understanding the employment makeup of this industry, which is critical to making informed policy and business decisions that will address workforce challenges and assist in the deployment of energy resources.