Shaheen Secures Significant NH Priorities in Latest Funding Bill

June 25, 2018

Shaheen, A Senior Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secures Critical Investments in Opioid Treatment and Veteran Services & to Prioritize Emergency Dredging of Hampton Harbor and Support for the Northern Border Regional Commission

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the Senate passed fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding legislation for the Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittees. The bill passed with bipartisan support. Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured a number of critical priorities for New Hampshire in the funding legislation, which is also referred to as a “minibus” appropriations bill.

“This funding bill includes a number of important objectives for New Hampshire communities, from ensuring emergency dredging at Hampton Harbor is a top priority, to securing additional federal dollars for investments in substance misuse treatment and prevention,” said Shaheen. “I’m pleased this legislation also provides necessary support to reduce veteran homelessness, to boost resources for the Northern Border Regional Commission and to promote energy efficiency throughout the Granite State, and across the country. I appreciate the bipartisanship we’ve seen throughout the appropriations process, and I’ll keep working across the aisle to make certain these bills, and significant New Hampshire priorities, are swiftly signed into law. ”

The Senate and House of Representatives will now conference on the chambers’ respective bills before the approved legislation is sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Summary of New Hampshire Priorities Included in FY19 Minibus Appropriations Bill:

$400 Million for Opioid Treatment Funding:

Senator Shaheen added $400 million for opioid prevention and treatment, which is $6 million more than last year’s funding level. The bill passed today also includes specific language to ensure additional funding is used to continue the implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Opioid Safety Initiative, and to develop programs to ensure non-VA providers treating veterans through community care programs are informed and in compliance with all VA standards for opioid safety and prescription guidelines.

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 government 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 announced earlier this month.

Safeguard NH Veteran Services from Reduction or Disruption of Care:

Senator Shaheen added an amendment with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to ensure states like New Hampshire that do not have full-service VA hospitals are protected from any efforts to reduce or realign facilities under the new VA MISSION Act that was recently signed into law. Shaheen and Hassan’s amendment prohibits federal funds from being used on realignment or modernization of facilities until the Secretary submits to the appropriate Congressional Committees a report certifying that any changes would not result in the disruption or reduction of services for veterans in those states.

Federal Assistance for the VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program:

Senator Shaheen worked to include $17 million to fund the VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program, which has lapsed in the past due to lack of funding. This funding for FY 2019 expands screening, prevention and intervention services to veterans. It also strengthens collaboration with community partners, as well as with the Caregivers Support Program and VA programs to address homelessness.

Funding for HUD-VASH Case Management:

Thanks to Senator Shaheen’s efforts, this bill includes $549.7 million for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. The HUD-VASH program helps reduce veteran homelessness by providing case management, permanent housing and supportive services that promote recovery and housing stability. Senator Shaheen has championed efforts in Congress to reduce veteran homelessness, including the Veterans Legal Support Act, which she previously introduced with Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Murphy (D-CT) to reduce the disability claims backlog and veteran homelessness through veterans legal clinics.  

Substantial Investments in the Northern Border Regional Commission:

Senator Shaheen helped secure $20 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), which is $5 million above the FY 2018 funding level. The bill also includes Shaheen’s provision that directs additional funding to the NBRC be used to address the needs of rural communities impacted by forest product plant closures. President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request recommended eliminating the NBRC.

Prioritization of Emergency Dredging for Hampton Harbor:

Senator Shaheen helped procure $6.93 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to complete necessary infrastructure projects in New Hampshire and across the country. This is $100 million above last year’s funding level. She specifically fought to include language that addresses the need for emergency dredging at Hampton Harbor by directing the Corps to prioritize off-cycle, emergency dredging in its Work Plans.

Shaheen recently visited Hampton Harbor and released an exclusive video showing how badly the shoaling is occurring in the harbor, underscoring the need for federal assistance to perform emergency dredging. Earlier this year, Shaheen successfully added specific language to prioritize mitigation efforts for the harbor in the biennial water infrastructure bill that passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Shaheen has repeatedly called for the Corps to dredge Hampton Harbor.

Continued Support for Research and Development of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Programs:

Senator Shaheen worked to add $2.32 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), including $251 million for the EERE Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and $55 million for the State Energy Program (SEP). President Trump’s budget request for FY 2019 ended funding for both of these programs. This funding bill also includes provisions from Shaheen’s Investing in State Energy Act, directing the Department of Energy to issue the full amount of WAP and SEP awards to states, tribes and other grantees no later than 60 days after the enactment of the bill.