WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen lauded Senate passage this week of the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations for Agriculture & the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; Financial Services and General Government; and Interior and Environment. The package, which provides funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and safe drinking water, WMATA/Metro and the Purple Line, as well as a 1.9 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees, brings the total number of appropriations bills passed by the Senate to seven.
“Every corner of Maryland is helped in some way by the federal resources we were able to secure in this package, from the health of the Chesapeake Bay and clean drinking water, to funds for poultry and aquaculture research, and the core of our transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Working together, using all the tools and resources of our delegation, we are creating partnerships and opportunities that will create and secure jobs, keep our water clean and safe, empower Maryland’s dedicated public servants, and protect and our environment for future generations.”
“This legislation includes crucial funding that will help Maryland modernize our infrastructure, grow our economy, and improve our environment. These investments support Maryland’s workforce as well as critical projects happening across our state – ranging from the Chesapeake Bay to Western Maryland,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I will continue working with Team Maryland to ensure continued federal investment in Maryland’s growth and success.”
The appropriations package, which passed the Senate Thursday with an overwhelming, bipartisan 96-2 vote, included the priorities below:
Agriculture & FDA Appropriations
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Programs
- Preserves funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which provides resources for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed after the President sought to eliminate the program.
USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), based in Beltsville, Md.
- Directed to conduct research in topics critical to Maryland’s poultry and Seafood industries, including Poultry Production research, Sustainable Aquaculture, and Shellfish Research.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), based in White Oak, Md.
- Provides a $292 million increase in funding for the agency with $66 million for opioid prevention efforts and $70 million in authorized funding under the 21st Century Cures Act.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations
DOT Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – $150 million
DOT Amtrak – $1.941 billion for Amtrak with $650 million for the Northeast Corridor route
DOT Essential Air Service Program, with service in Hagerstown, Md. – $315.177 million
DOT Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, which provides funds for Maryland’s Purple Line — $2.552 billion
DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Program — $1 billion
HUD Lead Based Hazard Reduction Program – $260 million, which is a $30 million increase
Interior and Environment Appropriations
Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and WIIN Act Grant Programs:
- $1.694 billion for CWSRF, $1.164 billion for DWSRF, $30 million for Section 2104 Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Grants, $15 million for Section 2105 Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Grants and $25 million for Section 2107 Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grants.
EPA – Geographic Programs (Environmental Programs Management Account) – Full $73 million for Chesapeake Bay Program and instructions to maintain the office in Annapolis, despite President Trump’s efforts to cut funding for the Bay by 90 percent.
EPA – Geographic Programs (Environmental Programs Management Account):
- $6 million for Small Watershed Grants and $6 million for Nutrient and Sediment Removal Grants
Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund – $3.91 million
National Park Service – Chesapeake Bay Programs
- $2.02 million for Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Trails
- $391,000 for Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
- $151,000 for the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
- $488,000 for NPS Chesapeake Bay Office
Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation — $1.725 million to help protect wetlands in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and other Eastern Shore communities.
Financial Services Appropriations
Federal Employees – 1.9 percent pay increase
“Our civilian public servants have paid dearly in recent years through pay freezes, furloughs, budget cuts and changes to their health and retirement systems. While we wish the pay raise returned to a parity with military pay, we are proud to deliver an increase to our federal workers, so many of whom work in Maryland or call Maryland home,” the senators said.
Office of National Drug Control Policy – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) – $280 million
General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters – Supports the construction of a consolidated FBI Headquarters but withholds funds due to unanswered questions related to their July 2017 decision to cancel the decade long-planned Headquarters project. The bill encourages GSA and FBI to submit a new prospectus for a consolidated FBI Headquarters at the previously vetted sites, including the Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland locations.
Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park – Encourages GSA and the National Park Service to relocate and consolidate the visitor center and headquarters for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park with other nearby National Park Service offices in Williamsport, Maryland.