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Blunt Highlights Missouri Priorities In Government Funding Bill

February 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that he secured numerous Missouri priorities in the bill to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. The legislation, which President Trump signed earlier today, includes seven FY2019 funding bills: Homeland Security; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

“Like any agreement in divided government, this bill is not perfect,” said Blunt. “I’m disappointed that Senate Democrats, for the sake of politics, stood in the way of stronger border security measures they know work and have supported in the past. But, this bill does prevent another shutdown, and provides funding to increase security at the border and support programs that greatly benefit Missouri.

“Having a transportation network that’s safe and efficient is a top priority for communities across our state, and this bill provides funding for various bridge, airport, and other infrastructure programs. It directs resources toward expanding rural broadband and supporting our ag industry, which drives our state’s economy. The bill also funds grant programs that give fire departments and law enforcement additional tools to keep communities safe.

“Last year, we were able to fund about 75 percent of the government. It was a step in the right direction, but we need to get 100 percent of our work done this year. That means debating and voting on every appropriations bill one-by-one and getting them to the president’s desk on time. We have to get out of this pattern of dysfunction in the appropriations process. The families I talk to are tired of it and so amI.”

Following Are the Missouri Priorities BluntSecured in the Bill:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food andDrug Administration, and Related Agencies:

  • Agricultural Research: The bill includes $3.03 billion, an increase of $146million, to support agricultural research conducted by land grant and non-land grant universities and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).The funding will support agricultural research programs at the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri StateUniversity, Lincoln University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) ARS facility in Columbia, Mo.
  • East Locust Creek Reservoir: The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will receive $5.6 million for the continued development of the East LocustCreek Reservoir Project.
  • K-12 Classroom Program: The bill includes $552,000 for Agriculture in the K-12Classroom program, which educates students about the source of their food and agricultural career opportunities.
  • Rural Broadband:The bill provides $550 million for a rural broadband pilot grant and loan program. The program will target areas that currently lack access to broadband, and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure. Fifty percent of rural Missourians still lack access to broadband services. This program will work alongside existing USDA programs to provide Missourians with access to modern, high-speed broadband services.
  • Rural Development:The legislation provides a total of $3 billion for programs that help rural areas advance infrastructure projects, expand broadband, combat the opioid crisis, and develop community facilities.
  • Rural Water Infrastructure: The legislation will support an additional $75 million in grants for water infrastructure projects in rural communities. The program has provided funding to projects in Clarksville,Cooper County, and Newton County.  
  • Commerce, Justice, Science and RelatedAgencies:

  • 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 $23.5 million, a $2.5 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 DevelopmentAdministration, help translate innovative ideas into local job growth.
  • Regional Information Sharing System Program (RISS): The RISS program, which includes the Mid-StatesOrganized Crime Information Center based in Springfield, Mo., and operates in nine states, is funded at $37 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.
  • Victims of Child Abuse Program: The legislation provides $22.5 million for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a $2.5 million increase from the level authorized under Blunt’s bill, which was signed into law in December 2018, to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). The VOCAA provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.
  • Financial Services and General Government:

  • Drug-Free Communities Program: The legislation provides $100 million for the Drug-FreeCommunities Program, which helps fund community-based coalitions that work to prevent youth substance use.
  • Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation: The legislation provides $1 million for theHarry S Truman Scholarship Foundation.  The Harry S TrumanScholarship 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.
  • High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA): The bill includes $280 million for the Blunt-backedHIDTA program, an effective and innovative initiative that provides critical assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat major drug-trafficking organizations across the country. MidwestHIDTA is located in Kansas City, Mo. and supports HIDTA law enforcement initiatives in six states.
  • Homeland Security:

  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The legislation provides $60 million for the NonprofitSecurity Grant Program. Blunt is a longtime supporter of this program, which provides financial support to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist attacks, such as synagogues and cultural centers, for physical security enhancements.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): The measure includes $16.6 billion for FEMA, including$12.6 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 $3.3 billion for these grant and training programs when considering the effects of the enactment of the DisasterRecovery Reform Act, which was signed into law in October 2018.
  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund: The legislation provides $250 million, an increase over last year’s funding level, for the Pre-DisasterMitigation Fund, which provides resources for hazard mitigation planning prior to a disaster event.
  • Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency ResponseProgram (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG): The bill provides $350 million each for the SAFER program, which provides funding to hire firefighters, and the AFG program, which provides equipment to firefighters. Last year, and in previous years, Blunt sent a letter to the Homeland Security AppropriationsSubcommittee advocating for the SAFER and AFG programs.
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

  • Community Affordability: The legislation includes Blunt-backed language directing the Environmental Protection Agency to publish new guidelines that ensure communities can affordably meet their clean water goals.
  • National Park Service: The measure provides dedicated funding to new units in the National Park System, including the Ste. Genevieve National HistoricPark that will be established later this year. In March 2018,Blunt’s legislation to establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park and designate it as a unit of the NPS was signed into law.
  • Water Infrastructure:The bill provides $2.9 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking WaterState Revolving Loan funds, which help states and localities improve water infrastructure.
  • Transportation, Housing and UrbanDevelopment, and Related Agencies:

  • Air Travel and Airport Improvements: The bill provides $175 million in discretionary funding, combined with $140 million in mandatory funding to supportEssential Air Service communities. Missouri communities that receiveEssential Air Service funding include Cape Girardeau, Joplin, andKirksville. The bill also funds the Airport Improvement Program that recently awarded grants to rehabilitate the runway at Columbia RegionalAirport and to reconstruct a taxiway at Joplin Regional Airport.
  • BUILD Grants: The measure includes $900 million for BUILD Grants, previously known as TIGERGrants. Last year, Blunt announced that Missouri received $90 million in grant funding through this program for infrastructure projects, including: The Buck O’Neil Bridge in Kansas City, the port loop track terminal at the SEMOPort, the South Main Corridor Improvement Project in Maryville, the new rail industrial park in Sedalia, and the Bella Vista Bypass in McDonaldCounty. This program has also funded the replacement of the Champ ClarkBridge over the Mississippi River in Louisiana, Mo., and the replacement of the Route 47 Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, Mo.
  • Contract Towers:The bill fully funds the contract tower program at $168 million. There aref ive airports in the state that depend on the contract tower program, including Joplin, Columbia, Branson, Jefferson City, and St. Joseph. AsChairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation, Blunt secured language in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which was signed into law in 2018, to protect and enhance safety for airline service in rural communities that rely on the contract tower program.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The bill provides $17.5 billion, including $1 billion for NextGen programs. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee onAviation last Congress, Blunt secured language in the FAA Reauthorization Act to require the FAA to assess how each NextGen program contributes to a safe and efficient air traffic control system.
  • Federal Highway Administration: The legislation includes an increased investment of$2.8 billion for roads, tunnels, and bridges and $475 million for bridges in the poorest condition in rural areas.
  • Transportation SecurityAdministration (TSA):The measure includes funding for 1,144 new TSA personnel to staff checkpoints and mitigate wait times; $77 million for 1,090 TSA personnel to maintain ExitLanes; $11 million for 50 additional canine teams to allow for increased throughput of passengers; and $92 million to deploy 203 “CT” (ComputedTechnology) checkpoint scanners to increase safety and national security. The Blunt-backed TSA Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2018, authorized many of these spending measures, including additional tools to enhance airport security and increase efficiency in the screening process.

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