WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate is expected to pass a spending package that includes provisions U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) secured to support investments in Ohio agriculture, rural infrastructure, Lake Erie, Dayton’s Aviation Heritage Area and to support clean up at the Piketon plant. The package includes Energy and Water appropriations, Agriculture Department appropriations and Interior Department appropriations. The spending package passed the House earlier this week and after it passes the Senate, will head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“This bill makes critical investments that our state needs, including helping treat opioid addiction, bolstering local agriculture, and supporting infrastructure improvements and economic growth,” said Brown.
Brown helped secure the following investments:
Energy and Water Appropriations
- $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
- GLRI is a results-driven program, and this funding ensures that it has the resources it needs to address the most serious issues that threaten the ecological and economic wellbeing of the Great Lakes basin, including invasive species, pollution, and toxic contamination. This $320 million is the largest annual investment in the Great Lakes’ health, ecosystem restoration, and water quality, and has already helped combat harmful algal blooms, invasive species, and pollution in the Great Lakes.
- Funding to Support Ongoing Cleanup at Piketon Plant
- Brown ensured the final package included more than $400 million in funding for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, which will ensure that cleanup continues as planned.
- Brown fought to ensure that workers at Piketon receive the necessary funding to maintain workforce levels and keep cleanup on pace.
- Brown has worked with Sen. Portman to keep jobs at the plant and maintain ongoing cleanup efforts in previous spending bills.
- More HERE.
- Extended Funding for Dayton’s National Aviation Heritage Area
- Includes Brown and Portman’s legislation to reauthorize funding for Dayton’s National Aviation Heritage Area (NAHA) through September 30, 2022
- NAHA spans eight counties throughout western Ohio, with a large presence in Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers. There are a variety of cultural sites within the NAHA, including the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, and Grimes Flying Field, as well as resources related to the Wright Brothers.
- Key investments for 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, including:
- An additional $6 million for research at 1890 Land-Grant institutions, which are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that are land grant universities. Brown secured this through an amendment. The funds will go toward research at Centers for Excellence on campuses like Central State University in Wilberforce. Brown took to the Senate floor earlier this year to demand inclusion of this amendment in the Senate bill, which he introduced with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).
- Rural Opioid Addiction Training: Brown helped secure $4 million for Rural Health and Safety Education Programs to combat opioid abuse in rural communities. In addition, the bill includes report language that recommends not less than $1 million for competitive external grants for eligible institutions to support the utilization of telehealth, telemedicine, distance learning, and virtual and augmented reality experiences for opioid education and training in minority rural communities. There is also prioritization language for treatment/recovery services under the Community Facilities loan/grant program at USDA. Brown encouraged this as part of the Farm Bill.
- Agricultural Research Service (ARS): Brown helped secure $1.4 billion in funding, which is $121 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $221 million above the President’s budget request. As the USDA’s in-house agricultural research unit, ARS has major responsibilities for conducting and leading the national agricultural research effort.
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Brown helped secure $962 million for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which is $13 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $93 million above the President’s budget request. Included in this increase is $8 million for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network and an increase of $10 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The NIFA helps fund extension services and promotes research at The Ohio State University (OSU).
- Farm Service Agency (FSA): Brown helped secure $1.112 billion for FSA for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs important to the nation’s farmers and ranchers. This includes $35 million to assist with implementation of the 2018 farm Bill. It also prohibits the closure of FSA county offices and provides resources for information technology (IT) improvements and personnel across county offices.
- Water and Waste Disposal Programs: Brown helped ensure Water and Waste direct loans are maintained at $1.4 billion, and Water and Waste grants are funded at maintained at $659 million. These programs increase the availability of clean water and sanitary waste disposal systems to small, remote rural communities.
- Community Facilities Loans and Grants: Brown helped ensure the Community Facilities loan program was funded at just under $3 billion. These loans and grants can be used for any essential community facility, including hospitals, health clinics, schools, public buildings, health and safety vehicles and equipment, etc.
- Increased Investments in Rural Broadband: Brown helped secure $555 million for the ReConnect Program, a USDA pilot program that funds the expansion of broadband internet services into underserved rural areas. USDA will finish announcing awards from its first round of ReConnect funding by December 31st, and will begin accepting applications for its second round on January 31st, 2020.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Brown helped ensure the bill provides full funding for the program, which will serve over 6 million mothers and children each month. The funding level also includes $80 million for breastfeeding support services.
Interior Department appropriations
- Lead Testing: Brown helped secure $26 million for lead testing in schools, and $19.511 million for reducing lead in drinking water.