Shaheen Supports Bipartisan Agreement to Fund the Government that Includes NH Priorities, and Calls for End to Shutdown Brinkmanship
** Shaheen, the Lead Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Successfully Secures More Than $450 Million for Anti-Opioid Grants **
**Bill Includes Shaheen’s Provision to Bolster Pediatric Cancer Research & Public Outreach**
**A Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Shaheen Secures 4,000 Visas for Afghan Interpreters Who Helped the U.S. Mission **
Earlier today, Senator Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor in support of the bipartisan funding agreement – watch in full here.
(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after the bipartisan funding agreement was passed by the Senate. The appropriations legislation will prevent a government shutdown and ensure the government is fully funded for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2019.
“I’m very relieved that Congress has been able to come together on a bipartisan basis and pass this legislation to fund the government,” said Shaheen. “While I’m very disappointed that this agreement does not provide back pay for contractors impacted by the government shutdown, it’s vitally important that we put an end to the government shutdown brinkmanship that has taken such a terrible toll on federal workers and the country. Federal workers and contractors are dedicated to serving the American people, and have families to care for -- they should never again be used as pawns for political purposes.”
“The challenges at our southern border should continue to be addressed by working across the aisle,” said Shaheen. “The President’s plan to declare a national emergency is an unfortunate, last ditch effort to force the American people to pay for a costly and ineffective border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.”
The bill includes significant resources secured by Shaheen through her role on the CJS Subcommittee to respond to the opioid epidemic, continue financial relief for New Hampshire fishermen, invest in school safety measures and boost funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs. Shaheen also worked to bolster pediatric cancer research and public outreach, and successfully procured 4,000 Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan interpreters who assist U.S. military and diplomatic forces.
Critical Funding for Department of Justice Anti-Opioid Grants: Senator Shaheen procured $468 million for Department of Justice (DOJ) anti-opioid grant programs, which is an increase of $21.5 million from FY18 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.
“This agreement also provides an increase in resources to help battle the opioid epidemic, which is a top priority of mine in the Senate,” said Shaheen. “Law enforcement in New Hampshire are doing an incredible job to get drugs off our streets and save lives, and we need to be making every effort to support them.”
Highest Funding Level Ever for Violence Against Women Act Programs: Once again, Senator Shaheen successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs, totaling $497.5 million, which is $5.5 million higher than FY18 levels.
“I’m disappointed that an agreement wasn’t reached to revise the Violence Against Women Act, however, an increase in funding in this bill will help sustain and enhance this program’s vital mission,” said Shaheen. “Looking forward, it will be imperative that Congress work together to reauthorize VAWA to address the many threats that women face to their safety.”
Additional 4,000 Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Interpreters Helping U.S. Forces: Senator Shaheen, also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, fought to procure the authorization and funding for an additional 4,000 Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan interpreters who have supported U.S. military or diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, Shaheen led a bipartisan request with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging them to include the visas in a funding agreement. Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to support the SIV program – securing the authorization of an additional 3,500 visas in the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act – and previously worked with the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to replenish the number of visas available to Afghan support staff.
“Afghan civilians continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Americans on the battlefield at tremendous risk to the safety and welfare of their families,” said Shaheen. “Congress has an obligation to do its part to uphold our nation’s promise to allow these brave Afghans and their families to find refuge in the United States. I’m pleased that, once again, we’ve been able to overcome obstacles to provide additional visas for the Afghan SIV program. It’s now imperative that the Trump administration distribute these visas efficiently, as this is a matter of life and death for these Afghans who are being hunted down by terrorists.”
Summary of New Hampshire Priorities Included in Bipartisan Funding Agreement:
Continued Financial Relief for New Hampshire and New England Fishermen: 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 $6 million for Fishing Safety Training Grants offered through the U.S. Coast Guard, $2 million for lobster research, $2 million for New England groundfish research and $1 million for research and monitoring of the highly-endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.
Assistance for U.S. Businesses Impacted by the Trade War: Senator Shaheen, also a member of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, successfully included language in the agreement to help U.S. businesses impacted by the President’s trade war. Specifically, Shaheen’s language requires the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to allow U.S. businesses to petition to have their products removed from the third round of tariffs on China, which totals approximately $200 billion worth of imported goods.
Protecting Land, Water & Forest Areas in NH and Across the Nation: The funding bill includes $435 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps preserve and maintain critical lands for national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and recreational areas throughout the country. Shaheen authored a bill to permanently reauthorize the LWCF, which was included in legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Senate earlier this week. The bipartisan funding agreement also includes $63.9 million for the Forest Legacy Program, which helps to fund local outdoor recreation projects across the United States.
Bolstering Pediatric Cancer Research and Public Outreach: Shaheen worked to include language in the bill that will require the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report to Congress that provides details on the geographic variation in pediatric cancer incidence in the United States. It also calls on HHS to provide support for public outreach to raise awareness of contributing factors for pediatric cancers in New Hampshire. Senator Shaheen has called on the Trump administration to prioritize pediatric cancer research in response to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicated between 2003 and 2014, New Hampshire had the highest pediatric cancer rate in the nation, with 205 pediatric cancer cases per 1,000,000 in the population.
$100 Million for School Safety Measures to Prevent Violence: Shaheen worked to increase funding through the STOP School Violence Act by $25 million over FY18 levels for preventative measures to thwart violent acts at schools, including training for teachers and school staff, development of threat assessments and reporting systems, and support for necessary safety equipment such as metal detectors, locks and security systems. In June, Senator Shaheen questioned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about school safety during a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.
Funding for Comprehensive Strategy to Confront the Syrian Conflict: Senator Shaheen, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, previously worked to establish a Syria Study Group to recommend additional ways forward to address the Syrian conflict. Her legislation to establish the study was included in the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill that was signed into law in October. In the bipartisan funding agreement passed today, Shaheen successfully included $750,000 to support the study.
Securing the Border: Senator Shaheen supported funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to be used for technological border security investments. The bill includes $563 million for the installation of imaging equipment at ports of entry along the southwest border. It also includes $133 million for additional air and marine resources, as well as $100 million for new border security technology. Additionally, the bill provides $44 million for new staffing to improve opioid and fentanyl-related investigations and analyses.