December 21, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a
member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Law
Enforcement Caucus, announced several Missouri priorities he worked to include
in the following FY2021 funding bills: Homeland Security; Commerce, Justice,
Science and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government.
The bills are part of the larger government funding package that Congress is expected to consider shortly.
“The pandemic has shined an even brighter spotlight on the
incredible, life-saving work our first responders do every day,” said Blunt.
“This bill invests in programs and policies to support police and fire
departments, including grant programs that help departments purchase equipment,
conduct training, and hire personnel. The bill maintains our focus on the
investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. It supports
improved coordination between local, state, and federal law enforcement to
better combat major drug-trafficking organizations. And, in addition to our
continued support for the drug-free communities programs and drug-court
programs, the bill makes a new investment in an initiative to help address the
root causes of recidivism. 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 to make our communities
stronger and safer.”
Following are the Missouri priorities included in the
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency
Response Program (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG): The
bill provides $360 million each for the SAFER and AFG programs, $5 million
above FY2020 levels. The SAFER program provides funding to hire firefighters,
and the AFG program provides equipment to firefighters. Both programs help
Missouri first responders fill gaps to provide firefighters with resources to
support their communities. 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 $90 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, a
$40 million increase above FY2020 levels. The bill also includes $90 million
for nonprofit organizations, a $50 million increase above FY2020 levels. 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 religious and cultural centers, for physical security
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies:
Victims of Child Abuse Program: The
legislation provides $30 million for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a $3
million increase over FY2020. 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.
Missouri children’s advocacy centers served over 9,000 children in 2019.
John R. Justice (JRJ) Program: The
legislation provides $2 million for the JRJ program, which provides loan
repayment assistance for state public defenders and state prosecutors who agree
to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three
years. The JRJ program eases the financial burden facing new attorneys who want
to pursue careers in public service.
Reducing Recidivism: The legislation
provides $4 million to fund grants to academic partners who can design and test
models to expedite judicial review for technical violations of supervision,
while linking individuals who commit technical violations to evidence-based
services that address the root causes of recidivism. A successful study in St.
Louis County, Mo., showed that it is possible to reduce unnecessary delay in
reinstatement of probation after technical violations and thus the social and
economic costs of that delay.
Regional Innovation (RI) Program: The
bill provides $38 million, a $5 million increase from last year’s level, for
the RI 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.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP):
The bill provides $150 million, a $4 million increase over FY2020, 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
Financial Services and General Government:
Drug-Free Communities Program: The
legislation provides $102 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program, an
increase over FY2020. This program helps fund community-based coalitions that
work to prevent youth substance use.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
(HIDTA): The bill includes $290 million for the Blunt-backed HIDTA program,
a $5 million increase over FY2020. 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 $2 million for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation, an increase over FY2020. 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. Washington University in St. Louis is one of seven schools with more than one 2020 Truman Scholar. In addition, Missouri is one of 10 states with more than one 2020 Truman Scholar.