**Shaheen, A Senior Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secured Critical Investments in Opioid Treatment and Veteran Services & Prioritized Emergency Dredging of Hampton Harbor and Support for the Northern Border Regional Commission in Newly Released Funding Legislation Negotiated by the Senate and House**
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the final version of the fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding legislation for the Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittees was unveiled following Senate and House negotiations. This final version of the bill is expected to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the President. Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, successfully added a number of significant provisions for New Hampshire in this funding legislation, which is also referred to as a “minibus” appropriations bill.
“Delivering opioid response funding to support prevention and treatment, combating veteran homelessness, increasing federal investments to help our economically distressed communities and advancing measures to prioritize emergency dredging for Hampton Harbor are all crucial New Hampshire objectives included in this legislation. I’m very pleased these priorities will soon be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law,” said Shaheen. “As the funding process moves forward, I’ll continue to reach across the aisle to ensure New Hampshire always has a seat at the table and that our state gets its fair share.”
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 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 omnibus government funding bill that was signed into law in March and 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 in June.
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.
Supportive Services for Veterans and Families Program
Thanks to Senator Shaheen’s efforts, this bill includes $380 million for supportive services for low-income veterans and families, which is $40 million above the FY 2018 funding level. The supportive services for the homeless veterans program is designed to improve residential stability and increase skills and income potential among veterans. 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.
Veterans Justice Outreach and Prevention Program
This legislation includes Senator Shaheen’s request of $54.3 million for the Veterans Justice Outreach and Prevention program, which is $5 million above the FY 2018 funding level. This program supports Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists who train local courts and law enforcement personnel to identify common challenges among reintegrating veterans, and help divert veterans suffering from mental illness or substance use disorders into VA treatment programs rather than incarceration.
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 nearly $7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to complete necessary infrastructure projects in New Hampshire and across the country. This is $171.5 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 toured Hampton Harbor in the spring 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 nearly $2.4 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), including $254 million for the EERE 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 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 2019 ended funding for both of these programs.
Full Funding for Super Flood Basin at PNSY to Support Future Increased Submarine Maintenance Capacity
To address the shallow water levels at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and its impediment to the docking and undocking of submarines, Shaheen successfully procured $110 million to fully fund a Super Flood Basin. The Super Flood Basin will create a controlled navigational lock structure to raise the elevation of the water above the tidally controlled Piscataqua River. This project will eliminate operational restrictions on Los Angeles class submarines and is critical to the Navy’s efforts to expand dry dock capacity to support essential submarine maintenance.
Pembroke National Guard Readiness Center
Senator Shaheen secured $12 million establish a National Guard Readiness Center in Pembroke, New Hampshire. The center will support administrative and logistical requirements for the New Hampshire Army National Guard. This project is critical to New Hampshire to improve facilities and increase space for training equipment and enhance mission readiness.