For Immediate Release, Thursday, May 04, 2017
Contacts: Don Stewart, David Popp 202-224-2979 | Robert Steurer, Stephanie Penn 202-224-8288
May 4, 2017
Sen. McConnell Secures Resources to Benefit Kentucky
‘Through my role as Senator Majority Leader and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have continuously advocated for Kentuckians and our priorities…[Congress] passed a funding bill that can make many important and positive impacts in the lives of the people we represent'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today the FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill contains a number of important Kentucky priorities he secured. Senator McConnell, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, protected these important programs in the legislation, which passed the Senate today. It now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“Through my role as Senator Majority Leader and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have continuously advocated for Kentuckians and our priorities. The important provisions included in this bill are vital to the Commonwealth. Whether it’s helping Kentucky workers and their jobs, giving our schools the resources needed to prepare students, providing a boost to economic development, or supporting our men and women in uniform, I will continue to use my seniority in the United States Senate to secure resources on behalf of Kentucky,” Senator McConnell said. “Because of the hard work from both chambers and both sides of the aisle, we passed a funding bill that can make many important and positive impacts in the lives of the people we represent.”
In addition to the important Kentucky priorities listed below, the legislation also includes language authored by Senator McConnell that permanently protects health care benefits for thousands of retired coal miners and their families, including 3,000 in Kentucky. The legislation also provides significant new resources to help communities across Kentucky and the nation that continue to suffer from the heroin and opioid epidemic.
• Over $380 million for Department of Defense Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program—and an additional $127 million in supplemental funding for chemical agent and munitions destruction funding—which will support chemical demilitarization efforts at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County. The safe disposal of chemical and nerve agents at this facility has long been a top priority for Sen. McConnell.
• Over $205 million to support cleanup and deactivation work—and an additional $50 million to support the DUF-6 conversion facility—at Paducah’s Department of Energy site which supports some 1,500 jobs in Western Kentucky.
• $225 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Olmsted Locks and Dam project and funding for other important infrastructure projects that help Kentucky’s inland waterways workers move agriculture and coal products more efficiently to market.
• $152 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) which will help support economic development in Eastern Kentucky. This ARC funding includes $50 million to support the POWER Plus Plan in an effort to help communities hurt by the downturn in the coal sector, $10 million for broadband deployment in Central Appalachia, and $6 million for basic infrastructure improvements in Central Appalachia.
• $25 million in new funding for Kentucky through an Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program—which Sen. McConnell worked with Rep. Rogers to help establish—to support economic development and the reclamation of mine sites. This funding will supplement the annual AML reclamation funding the state receives. FY 2016 appropriations from this program has already funded several successful projects in Eastern Kentucky.
• $20 million through the Department of Labor (DOL) to provide training and employment services to dislocated coal workers. Sen. McConnell has helped secure similar DOL funding for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program’s Hiring Our Miners Everyday (HOME) initiative which has provided job training and employment services to thousands of Kentuckians.
• Federal interstate designation for the existing Breathitt Parkway between I-24 and I-69—a provision introduced by Sen. Paul which Sen. McConnell helped secure in the bill—to help improve traffic safety and to help draw employers and economic development to the Hopkinsville area.
• Over $26 million for the General Services Administration’s Judiciary Capital Security Program which will allow significant security upgrades to be made at Paducah’s federal courthouse.
• $25 million for the Delta Regional Authority to support economic and infrastructure development in communities in the Mississippi Delta region, including a number of counties in Western Kentucky.
• Over $25 million for the Printing House for the Blind in Louisville to continue its important work to create products for visually impaired students and people across the country.
• $234 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug program which supports the Kentucky National Guard’s marijuana eradication program in Eastern Kentucky.
• Language maintained from FY 2016 to support the transportation of industrial hemp grown in compliance with the enacted 2014 Farm Bill.
• Supported language secured by Rep. Rogers prohibiting the USACE from completing a water reallocation study that would result in fees for municipalities and businesses withdrawing water from Lake Cumberland.
National programs that will benefit Kentucky
• $668 million for the Fossil Energy Research Program which supports the development of clean coal technology—including $50 million to fund two new transformational coal technology pilot projects.
• Over $8 million in Department of Education funding to support work colleges like Berea College and Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky.
• Over $34 billion to the National Institutes of Health, an agency which funds important health research at Kentucky’s universities.
• The highest pay raise for servicemembers in six years with a critically-needed down payment on the long-overdue task of rebuilding our military.
• $254 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program which will provide resources to and support coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Kentucky’s HIDTA areas.
• Over $800 million for health related anti-opioid programs—including those authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and in the 21st Century Cures Act, over $276 million for justice and law enforcement related anti-opioid programs, and $50 million for veterans’ anti-opioid programs.
• Language restoring year-round Pell grants, allowing students to utilize the grants to attend school year-round.
• $695 million for the Federal Emergency Management’s competitive Fire and SAFER grant program to help local communities meet fire response needs.
• $403 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program to help local communities meet law enforcement needs.
• Over $342 million for the Department of Education’s charter school program to assist with the startup costs associated with opening or expanding charter schools, important support for Kentucky as the new Republican majority in Frankfort recently passed a new charter schools law.