Press Release

December 20, 2007
CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE OMNIBUS BILL FUNDS CRITICAL MARYLAND PRIORITIES DESPITE BUSH-MANDATED CUTS
Legislation addresses projects including BRAC, transportation, homeland security, public safety, health care, education, vets, military and infrastructure


WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski
(both D-Md.) today announced they have secured critical funding for domestic priorities for Maryland and the nation in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus package that has been passed by Congress.
  The bill now heads to the President for his signature.



 


“President Bush refuses to cooperate with Congress by threatening to veto the bills that fund America’s priorities here at home, while continuing to ask for more money for the war in Iraq.  The omnibus spending package tells President Bush we will not shoulder the cost of his war by sacrificing our safety, security and everyday needs on the home front,” said Senator Mikulski.  “I told Marylanders I would fight for their day-to-day needs.  My promises made are promises kept, despite the President’s refusal to come to the table to discuss how we can help Americans with their priorities at home: education, health care and keeping their communities safe.” 



 


“Nearly a year ago when I first came to the Senate, my pledge was to work as a partner with Senator Mikulski to push forward key domestic, economic and national security priorities important to all Marylanders.
 Clearly, the omnibus bill passed by the Senate does a better job than the President’s original budget in providing federal funds for many of America’s priorities, especially support for our veterans, homeland security, education, healthcare and research, the environment and key infrastructure,” said Senator Cardin.
 “I recognize that there is much more left to accomplish and I will continue fighting to right this country’s course.”




 



The fiscal year 2008 omnibus package combines 11 spending bills that fund domestic priorities and have not yet become law because President Bush’s vetoes and veto threats have delayed their passage.
  With fiscal year 2008 already underway, the omnibus funds government agencies, cabinet departments, and critical domestic American priorities.




 



Senator Mikulski is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, and Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee.
  Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee.


 


Funding for Maryland projects is detailed below, and is grouped according to the following topics:
BRAC, transportation, military construction, veterans, housing and community development, health facilities, education, foreign operations, Chesapeake Bay, parks and sewers, energy and water, agriculture, homeland security, conservation, justice and
space.




BRAC




 


The bill addresses military construction, transportation and implementation projects related to the execution of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission’s recommendations.
  The Commission’s recommendations were great news for Maryland and will bring thousands of new employees to the state.
  This includes 10,000 new jobs that will never leave the country, in addition to 85,000 existing jobs on bases and up to 40,000 non-direct jobs.




 




BRAC military construction projects:

In response to the President’s veto threat, Congress cut $1 billion from the BRAC Military Construction account.  The executive branch will now re-evaluate BRAC funding for individual initiatives across the nation with the almost $7.3 billion allotted.  Team Maryland will continue to fight to ensure that Maryland’s BRAC military construction projects are fully funded.  Senator Mikulski and her fellow appropriators will push to restore funding when Congress considers the next emergency supplemental proposal early next year.




 



BRAC transportation projects: The spending bill includes more than $15.36 million for BRAC-related transportation projects, including:




 





·
       


$9.8 million for the MARC Commuter Rail System.
  The funding will be used for new locomotives and railcars, to study new station locations and to improve existing stations.





·
       


$2.2 million to improve access to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County.





·
       


$1.97 million to improve access to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda by making adjustments to the already congested Route 355.





·
       


$657,000 for the Central Maryland Transit Operations Facility at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County to house and maintain Maryland Transit Administration buses that will serve Anne Arundel, Howard and northern Prince George’s Counties.





·
       


$490,000 for improvements to intersections on Route 175 leading to Fort Meade.





·
       


$245,000 for U.S. 15 at Monocacy Boulevard to improve access to Fort Detrick in Frederick County
.





 




BRAC implementation efforts: In meetings with Maryland’s local leaders to discuss the impact of BRAC, both Senators pledged to fight for increases to Impact Aid and Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act programs, which could dramatically ease pressure on local and state government budgets and allow more funds to support BRAC-implementation efforts.
  For more information on the IDEA and Impact Aid programs, go to:


http://mikulski.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=287194

.
  This bill includes:




 





·
       


$11 billion in increased funding for IDEA, a $500 million increase over the President’s request, which entitles children with disabilities to a public education and provides federal funds to help schools with the cost.
 





·
       


$1.24 billion for the federal Impact Aid program, a $12 million increase over the President’s request.
  The program provides federal funding to school districts that have increased enrollment due to federally connected children. 



 




TRANSPORTATION



 


The bill includes $42.6 million for key state transportation projects not related to BRAC:



 





·
       


$34.3 million for the purchase of additional railcars for the Washington Metro system.





·
       


$2.45 million to upgrade a very congested section of Route 4 at Suitland Parkway to a multi-lane freeway in Prince George’s County.





·
       


$1.27 million to construct Southern Maryland Commuter Bus Park and Ride lots.





·
       


$980,000 to upgrade and widen Route 237 from Pegg Road to Route 235 to a multi-lane highway near Patuxent Naval Air Station (Pax River) in St. Mary’s County.





·
       

$
980,000 to plan and design improvements to U.S. Route 301 in Charles and Prince George’s County.





·
       


$818,000 for the Bi-County Transit Center in Langley Park to serve as an off-street bus transfer facility for residents of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.





·
       


$735,000 to widen Interstate 695 NE to eight lanes in Baltimore County.





·
       


$735,000 for Maryland Statewide Bus and Bus Facility Program.





·
       


$328,300 for acquisition of an abandoned railroad bridge for inclusion in the Gwynns Falls Trail.



 


The bill also provides an additional
$1 billion for the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program following this year’s terrible tragedy in Minnesota.  This program provides grants to states for bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preventative maintenance and inspections.  The funding will provide an additional $23 million for Maryland, which received $58.4 million this year based on a formula authorized in the 2005 transportation authorization bill (SAFETEA).



 




MILITARY CONSTRUCTION




 


The bill provides $274.8 million for construction projects not related to BRAC at Maryland’s military facilities
.
 The legislation contains provisions for military installations nationwide, with federal funding totaling $21.47 billion to support new construction costs.
  This includes:



 





·
       


$150 million for the U

.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

at Fort Detrick.





·
       


$52.06 million for the National Maritime Intelligence Center
in Suitland.





·
       


$17.99 million for an Aircraft Prototype Facility
at Pax River.





·
       


$13.65 million for E-2 Advanced Hawkeye Research, Development, Test and Evaluation facility at Pax River.





·
       


$12.2 million for APG to build an Automotive Technology Evaluation Facility (ATEF).
 
This funding was not included in President Bush’s budget.
  The ATEF will provide the Department of Defense (DoD) with the capability to support sustained high-speed testing for both wheeled and tracked vehicles, as well as complement and enhance automotive test infrastructure already in place at the Aberdeen Test Center.
  For more information on ATEF, go to:



http://mikulski.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=281900

.





·
       


$9.45 million for an Advanced Energetics Research Lab Complex at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head in Charles County.





·
       


$7.9 million for a new Power, Space and Cooling Utilities Building at the National Security Agency (NSA)
at Fort Meade.




      $6.72 million for an addition to the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System building at Pax River.  





·
       


$4 million for an exterior stair tower at the
NSA
Operations Building

at Fort Meade to address building safety codes.





·
       


$829,000 to plan and design an Army National Guard Readiness Center in Dundalk.



 




VETERANS:




 



The bill includes
$87.6 billion


for critical veterans programs

, a significant $3.7 billion more than the President requested and the largest increase for veterans’ health care in the 77 years of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) existence.
  This increase is designated as emergency funding, which gives the President discretion over whether or not to spend it. 
The spending bill rejects President Bush’s attempt to double veterans’ co-pays and charge enrollment fees, and
includes: