The Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act Supports New Jersey Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a package of eight appropriations bills (H.R. 3354) to provide funding for the federal government for the 2018 fiscal year, including countless programs of importance to New Jersey. The bill, also known as the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act,” was passed by a vote of 211-198.  Today’s action completes initial House consideration of all 12 annual Appropriations bills, completed before the September 30 deadline.

“The legislation approved by the House today funds important domestic and international programs that help our economy grow, keep our people safe and preserve America’s leadership across the globe,” said Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.  “Just like the Defense, Energy and Water Development and Military Construction/VA bills passed in July, these bills contain important funding for programs important to New Jersey, such as the more than $900 million included in the Transportation Appropriations section of H.R. 3354 for eligible programs such as the Gateway program in the New Jersey-New York area. 

“Now more than ever, it is imperative to our economy and to our quality of life to have safe and well-functioning transportation infrastructure. It is not an overstatement to say that Gateway is critical to our nation’s economy.  The Northeast Corridor region, encompassing over 50 million people from Washington D.C. to Boston, produces approximately $3 trillion in economic output, equal to 20% of our national Gross Domestic Product.  Safe and reliable passenger rail travel through New Jersey and New York City is essential to that economic productivity.”

Funding contained in H.R. 3354 for other New Jersey priorities include:

The Homeland Security Section includes:

  • The Urban Area Security Initiative, which assists high-threat, high-density Urban Areas like the New Jersey-New York Metropolitan Region in efforts to build and sustain the capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, is funded at $635 million. 
  • The Nonprofit Security Grant Program, is increased by $25 million to a total of $50 million.  Nonprofit Security Grants provide funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.   Synagogues, Jewish Community Centers and schools, including several in New Jersey, were targeted earlier this year in a series of bomb threats. 
  • The bill also includes $690 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants in our communities.

The Interior Section of H.R. 3354:

  • Includes full funding for the Chemical Safety Board, a program slated for elimination by the Administration;
  • Under this legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is funded at $7.53 billion, which is $528 million below the enacted FY17 level but $1.88 billion above the Administration’s recent budget request. 
  • A $28 million increase in the Superfund hazardous waste clean-up program.  New Jersey has more Superfund sites than any other state.
  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund, slated for a significant reduction under the Administration’s budget, is funded at $275 million.  $10 million has been authorized for open space preservation from willing sellers under Frelinghuysen’s Highlands Conservation Act.  Preserving the New Jersey Highlands is a major federal priority.  A major source of drinking water and in the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country, the Highlands is a critical area in need of protection.
  • The National Heritage Areas program, which the Administration had proposed to eliminate, is level-funded at $19.8 million including support for the Crossroads of the American Revolution Area in New Jersey.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are both funded at $145 million.  The Administration had proposed to terminate both programs in its budget request.

The State-Foreign Operations Appropriations section:

  • Includes a funding limitation with respect to diplomatic facilities in Cuba (with certain exceptions) until the President determines and reports to the Committee that the requirements specified in section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act have been met.  The bill includes an explicit reference to the requirement regarding the extradition of persons sought by the U.S. Department of Justice for crimes committed in the U.S.  Report language notes that Joanne Chesimard, convicted in the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper, is among those individuals being sought for extradition.

The Labor-Health and Human Services section:

  • National Institutes of Health - NIH funding is increased by $1.1 billion for total of $35.2 billion, which supports research at Universities throughout New Jersey, such as 2017 grantees St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Atlantic Health System in Morristown, Kessler Foundation in West Orange.  The bill contains a targeted increase of $300 million at NIH to support Cancer Moonshot which increases support for New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. 
  • Maintains the robust funding level for programs to address the opioid abuse crisis, felt by communities throughout New Jersey.  Other programs:
  • Head Start - The bill provides $9.3 billion for Head Start, a $22 million increase, supporting our local Head Start programs.
  • Pell Grants - The bill maintains the current “year round” Pell Grant award at $5,920 to assist students attending colleges and universities throughout our state.
  • Senior Nutrition Programs - $838 million for senior nutrition programs, of which $227 million is for the Meals on Wheels.
  • Community Health Centers - funding of $1.4 billion, an increase of $900k above FY17 and $2.8 million above President’s budget request.  These health centers, such as the Zufall Health Centers in Dover, Morristown, West Orange, Flemington, Hackettstown, Newton, Somerville, provide care to underserved communities in every county of New Jersey including Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex.

The Financial Service-General Government Appropriations section:

  • Provides $848 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help promote opportunities for American small businesses, including those in New Jersey, to begin, grow, and prosper. 
  • A portion of the $120 million of the funding in this section will go to the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) network which is committed to guiding established small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to create and expand their business enterprises.  The NJSBDC network includes 12 centers across New Jersey: - NJSBDC at William Paterson University (Passaic County), NJSBDC at Rutgers Newark (Essex County) and - NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey (Morris and Sussex County).
  • Women Small Business Centers (SBA) – the bill includes $17 million in funding to support organizations like the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship [WCEC] in Chatham, Morris County to help elevate women to business success through education, counseling, mentoring and entrepreneurial training. 

The Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations section includes

  • $527.5 million in funding for Violence Against Women Act programs which is $45.5 million above FY 2017. VAWA grants are critical to the state of NJ to support services and programs in response to domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA grants provide annual support to organizations like the Jersey Battered Women Service and to support the Morris Family Justice center which since its opening last year has helped over 500 clients.
  • The CJS section also provides $49 million to promote progress in reducing the backlog of untested sexual assault kits.  These grants provide resources and improve processes to test kits, provide training to law enforcement personnel while providing justice and resolution to the victims of sexual assault.

H.R. 3354 totals $1.2 trillion, including $87 billion in funding for Global War on Terror. 

“These investments are made responsibly. In each of the bills within this package, we have found savings, gotten rid of waste, fraud and duplication, and increased oversight to ensure that no taxpayer dollar is misspent,” said Frelinghuysen.