Langevin Statement on Passage of Government Funding Package That Prioritizes National Defense, Uplifts Families and Communities

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today voted in favor of H.R. 7617, a $1.3 trillion “minibus” appropriations package that comprises the Fiscal Year 2021 Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development bills. The funding package passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 217-197.

“Constitutionally, Congress has the power of the purse, and one of my principle responsibilities is to ensure we are making investments that will uplift and empower Rhode Islanders and the American people and keep our nation safe and on course for continued prosperity.

“As the country continues to battle the pandemic, this bill makes needed investments, including more than $24 billion in emergency funding to shore up our public health infrastructure. It also defunds Republicans’ outrageous attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act in the court system. It is unconscionable that, at a time when economic growth is at a record low and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take more than a thousand lives a day, President Trump is attempting to undermine Americans’ health care. The bill also builds upon the House’s work in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by funding important police reform measures to begin to address the severe racial inequities in our justice system.

“As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I’m also encouraged this package provides service members strong support to bolster their capabilities against current and future threats. In addition to a well-deserved 3 percent raise for our troops, this package invests in health care support and critical equipment so that our warfighters never enter a fair fight.

“Defense manufacturing is critical to Rhode Island’s economy, and this funding bill delivers for our state. Specifically, it rejects the President’s budget cuts and provides for the construction of two Virginia-class submarines. It also fully funds the Navy’s number one ship building priority, the Columbia-class program that will replace the nation’s aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. Rhode Islanders will continue to provide for the common defense through their exceptional work at Quonset Point and help ensure our heroes have the latest technology to keep America and our interests secure.

“I’m proud of the significant investments we make in education to help prepare the leaders of tomorrow. This legislation promotes learning experiences that will equip students of all ages to compete in a 21st Century economy. I’m pleased to have led the effort to increase funding for career and technical education programs under the Perkins Act by $25 million. I also fought to restore funding for English Language Acquisition grants after the President attempted to eliminate the program entirely.

“Every child should grow up in a supportive environment that inspires them to succeed. As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, I pressed to include $42 million for the Adoption Opportunities Program to help states connect foster youth with loving families and forever homes, as well as important post-adoption services. Our commitment to provide at-risk youth with the proper supports to succeed is also reflected in a $100 million allocation for the Youth Mentoring Program.

 “Moreover, as an American with a disability, I fight to ensure everyone has the support they need to live with freedom and dignity. Through my advocacy, this package includes $40 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program to aid research and development that will change lives. I also fought to secure $10 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program, which supports our invaluable family caregivers by providing respite services regardless of age or condition.

“Climate change is one of the most urgent issues humanity faces, and each day the threat grows. I worked diligently to help secure billions to fight global warming through support for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and related advanced research. Further, I led the effort to fund critical non-proliferation work on the potential use of low-enriched uranium reactors in nuclear submarines. I also championed a provision to provide states with additional aid to make energy efficiency and weatherization assistance available to communities.

“We have now passed ten of the twelve appropriations bills to fund the government ahead of the September 30th deadline. The Senate has passed none. We passed the Heroes Act, a major pandemic relief bill in May. The Senate did not unveil its bill until Monday. It’s past time for Senator McConnell to take up bills to address the urgent needs of the American people. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Funding within H.R. 7617 important to Rhode Island includes:

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • $7.6 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including studies, construction, and operation and maintenance
  • $1.64 billion for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resources projects
  • $75 billion in emergency funding to rebuild transportation and housing infrastructure
  • $61 billion in emergency funding to expand the availability of broadband to unserved and underserved communities
  • $43.5 billion in emergency spending to modernize water and energy infrastructure
  • $24.425 billion in emergency spending to support state and local public health agencies and global health activities

MEDICAL RESEARCH

  • $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $5.5 billion above FY20
  • $50 million, an increase of $25 million above FY20, for firearm injury and mortality prevention research at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health

EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING

  • $73.5 billion for the Department of Education, $6.9 billion above the President’s request
  • $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, $1.5 billion above the President’s request

HOUSING AND COMMUNITIES

  • $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), rejecting the President’s proposal to eliminate the program
  • $356 million for the Economic Development Administration, helping to boost struggling communities
  • $273.5 million for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), rejecting the President’s proposal to eliminate the program

SERVICE MEMBERS AND MILITARY FAMILIES

  • Provides full funding necessary to support the three percent military pay raise
  • More than $33.3 billion for Defense Health Programs, including $512.5 million for cancer research

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • $12 billion across Department of Energy programs to support clean, affordable, and secure energy
  • $5.45 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in support of critical climate research and response