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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Some good for RI included in federal budget

Langevin Secures Funding for RI Estuary Protection in Appropriations Bills
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Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) voted in favor of H.R. 3055, a $383.3 billion “minibus” appropriations package that comprises the Fiscal Year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science; Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA; Interior and Environment; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills. 

The funding package passed the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 227-194.

“This appropriations package will create jobs, support vulnerable populations, and preserve our public lands,” said Langevin. 

“The bill includes new funding to fight the opioid epidemic, combat gun violence, protect the environment and help create healthier and safer communities across the country. The legislation also fully rejects the Trump budget, which would have brought devastating cuts to Rhode Islanders most in need.”

In the base bill, Langevin secured $5 million in funding for the Southeast New England Program Coastal Watershed Restoration Program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will help preserve coastal waterways in Rhode Island. 

Langevin also introduced two amendments that were adopted during floor debate on the funding package. The first amendment further increases funding by $2.7 million for the Department of Justice’s Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program, which helps local and state law enforcement agencies better coordinate and deconflict ongoing investigations. 

Langevin’s bipartisan amendment was offered in conjunction with Congressman Peter King (R-NY); the two also lead an annual funding letter to the House Appropriations Committee in support of RISS. 

The other amendment appropriates $800,000 to conduct a wheelchair restraint study that Langevin included in last year’s Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization. The study will explore ways disabled air travelers in wheelchairs could avoid being required to transfer to a passenger seat while flying.

“I always fight to make certain Rhode Island priorities are included in government funding bills,” continued Langevin. “In this bill, I was particularly proud to lead the push for funding to protect New England’s estuaries. These coastal waterways are plentiful across Rhode Island and possess great ecological, recreational and economic value for our state.”

Other funding within H.R. 3055 important to Rhode Island includes:

  • $101 billion for food and nutrition programs
  • $80.4 billion for medical care for veterans
  • $8.45 billion to conduct a thorough and accurate 2020 Census
  • $501 million for grant programs to help stem opioid abuse