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Frelinghuysen's Continuing Appropriations Package Addresses New Jersey Needs

WASHINGTON D.C. – The “Continuing Appropriations” package introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, expected to be approved by Congress by a bipartisan majority and signed by the President this week, contains funding important to New Jersey.

“This package of the remaining Appropriations bills is the result of over a year’s worth of careful and dedicated efforts to closely examine federal programs to make the best possible use of every tax dollar,” said Frelinghuysen.  “This legislation will fund critical federal government activities, including our national defense, and enact responsible funding decisions to target U.S. investments where they are needed the most, including many in New Jersey. It also maintains and enhances policies that bolster economic growth and support the core values that our nation is built upon.”

Details of the entire appropriations package can be found here.

To summarize just a few New Jersey priorities:

Amtrak Northeast Corridor/Gateway

The Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) title of the bill adds $75 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor for a total of $328 million.  The bill’s intent is that Amtrak will use a significant share of the additional funding to address issues related to the Gateway project.  Specifically, the Statement of Managers” states: “The agreement allows Amtrak to undertake new capital projects and encourages Amtrak to prioritize strategic rail infrastructure improvements at critical points in the rail network that would improve current services or create new capacity.”

Highlands Open Space/Drinking Water Protection  

The Interior title of the package contains $10 million for land conservation partnership projects and open space purchases from willing sellers in the four-state Highlands region: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, a critical watershed region which provides drinking water for millions.   

Homeland Security Non-Profit Security Grants

The Homeland Security title of the Continuing Appropriations bill includes $605 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and $25 million to be designated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) which supports “target hardening” and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack.  In the wake of a recent wave of anti-Semitic threats against synagogues and Jewish schools, the total funding for the NSGP is $5 million higher than current levels.

Urban Search and Rescue

The Homeland Security title provides $38.2 million for FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue system (USAR) and included is a “one-time increase” of $3.1 million from the current budget levels “to ensure teams are uniformly equipped.” New Jersey Task Force 1 is the newest member of the USAR, having joined less than one year ago.   

HUD-VASH Homeless Vouchers

The T-HUD title contains $40 million above President Obama’s last budget request for 3,700 new vouchers for housing for homeless veterans under the HUD-VASH program.  The FY 2017 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill, passed last year, provided funding for 79,000 veterans. 

Housing Vouchers for People with Disabilities (Frelinghuysen Vouchers)

Under the T-HUD title, the final bill includes $120 million for Section 811 vouchers for persons with disabilities – the “Frelinghuysen Vouchers” – $10 million above President Obama’s FY 2017 budget request to provide new housing opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Defense

The Department of Defense (DOD) portion of the Omnibus funds critical national security needs, including military operations and readiness programs, as well as health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families. In total, the bill provides $593 billion, an increase of $19.9 billion over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $16.3 billion more than the Obama Administration’s request.

When combined with the $5.8 billion in supplemental funding enacted in the Continuing Resolution that passed in December, the total Defense funding for fiscal year 2017 is $598.5 billion, an increase of $25.7 billion over fiscal year 2016 and $22.1 billion more than President Obama’s original request.

The DOD portion of the legislative package contains significant new money to fund critical efforts by the Armaments Research Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal to increase the range, lethality, and survivability of U.S. military units on the battlefield.

In addition, the measure provides funding for the planning and design, in FY 2017, of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Research and Development Center at Picatinny Arsenal in FY 2019.

In addition to providing base operating funds for all of New Jersey’s military installations including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Naval Weapons Station Earle and the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City, the bill includes funding that will increase New Jersey’s military contributions.  Protecting the strength and sustainability of this state’s unique military installations is critical to all of our Armed Forces.  Supporting these bases is vital to both our national defense and our state’s historical support for national security.  For more information, visit:  http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394859

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