December 19, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced several Missouri priorities he worked to include in the following FY2020 funding bills: Homeland Security; Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government. The bill has passed the Senate and is headed to the president's desk.
“This legislation provides vital resources for programs that support the brave men and women who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” said Blunt. “We’re investing in grant programs that help fire departments in areas across the state purchase equipment, conduct training, and hire personnel. We’re also providing additional funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act, ensuring Children’s Advocacy Centers and law enforcement have the tools they need to coordinate the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. The opioid crisis continues to devastate towns and cities across the state, and this bill includes resources for a grant program for drug courts, which help people get the treatment and support they need. To help stem the flow of illegal drugs into our communities, this bill provides funding for an innovative program that improves coordination between local, state, and federal law enforcement to better combat major drug-trafficking organizations. In a tight fiscal environment, these are all areas where smart, targeted federal investment goes a long way toward supporting state and local agencies and the important work they do.”
Following are the Missouri priorities included in the funding bills:
• Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG): The bill provides $355 million each for the SAFER and AFG programs, $5 million above FY2019 levels. The SAFER program provides funding to hire firefighters, and the AFG program provides equipment to firefighters. This year, and in previous years, Blunt sent a letter to the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee advocating for the SAFER and AFG programs.
• Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The legislation provides $665 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, including $50 million for nonprofit organizations. Blunt is a longtime supporter of the Nonprofit Security Grant program, which provides financial support to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist attack, such as synagogues and cultural centers, for physical security enhancements.
• Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): The measure includes $22.3 billion for FEMA, including $17.8 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund. The bill includes strong support for state and local first responders and emergency management personnel, providing a total of $2.9 billion for these grant and training programs.
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies:
• Victims of Child Abuse Program: The legislation provides $27 million for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a $4.5 million increase over FY2019. Blunt’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA) was signed into law in 2018. The bill provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child abuse victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.
• Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): The legislation provides $12 million for the CASA program, which provides competent, court-appointed community volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children.
• Regional Innovation: The bill provides $33 million, a $9.5 million increase from last year’s level, for the Regional Innovation program, which provides operational support for local innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialize new ideas and technologies. The grants, administered by the Economic Development Administration, help translate innovative ideas into local job growth.
• Regional Information Sharing System Program (RISS): The RISS program, which includes the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center based in Springfield, Mo., and in operation in nine states, is funded at $38 million, a $1 million increase over last year’s funding level. RISS allows law enforcement agencies across the country to successfully resolve criminal investigations, apprehend and prosecute offenders, and ensure officer and public safety.
• Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP): The bill provides $33 million for JMHCP, a $2 million increase over FY2019. JMHCP is designed to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and mental health and substance abuse treatment systems. Grants can be used for a broad range of activities, including specialized law enforcement-based programs, mental health courts, and crisis intervention teams.
• Drug Courts Discretionary Grant Program: The legislation includes $80 million for the drug courts discretionary grant program, a $3 million increase over FY2019. Drug courts have been on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and have become important resources for law enforcement and other community stakeholders affected by opioid addiction.
• Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP): The bill provides $146 million, a $6 million increase, for MEP. MEP is a public-private partnership operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in collaboration with centers in all 50 states. MEP serves as a bridge to other organizations and federal research labs focused on enhancing the manufacturing community. Missouri Enterprise in Rolla is part of the MEP program.
Financial Services and General Government:
• Drug-Free Communities Program: The legislation provides more than $101 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program, an increase of over $1 million. This program helps fund community-based coalitions that work to prevent youth substance use.
• High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA): The bill includes $285 million for the Blunt-backed HIDTA program, an $5 million increase over FY2019. HIDTA is an effective and innovative initiative that provides critical assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combatting major drug-trafficking organizations across the country. Midwest HIDTA is located in Kansas City, Mo. and supports HIDTA law enforcement initiatives in six states.
• Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation: The legislation provides more than $1.6 million for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation. The Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the sole federal memorial to President Truman supporting graduate education for young people committed to careers in public service.