Congresswoman Barbara Lee Praises the Passage of Federal Spending Package to Invest in Our Veterans, Environmental Justice, and Combating Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to yesterday’s House passage of a federal spending package that funds the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Energy, House Appropriations Committee Member Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) issued the following statement:    

“With the passage of this bill, House Democrats are reaffirming our commitment to bettering our communities  including a positive impact on the people of California's Congressional 13th District.  I am especially proud of the robust reinvestments for our veterans, families experiencing homelessness, HBCU institutions, cannabis justice and our environment.  

“This year’s Transportation and Housing Appropriations funding provides robust investments in our transit and housing programs which provides better access and stability to millions of Americans who need the investment the most. This bill provides much needed funding for our roads, bridges, and infrastructure by providing a $167 million increase in funding for the Department of Transportation and an increase of $5.9 billion over FY19 for all HUD programs. 

“I was pleased to support the amendment that was adopted that would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with State cannabis programs. As the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus, the adoption of this language is critical to ensuring that the 47 states that have some form of legalized cannabis can operate cannabis programs without the interference of the Federal Government. 

“I am also pleased that this bill provides funding for important programs, including $10 million for competitive grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) under the Historic Preservation Fund.  This grant program assists HBCUs in repairing historic building on their campuses, and is critical to our nation’s HBCUs.    

“Additionally, our agriculture appropriations touches the lives of every single person in this country, especially children, students, and mothers, in both urban and rural communities. That includes an $8 million increase to the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) that I worked on the first funding for back in Fiscal Year 2017, so I am especially proud to see this substantial increase. This vital program provides loans and grant financing to attract grocery stores and other fresh food retailers in food desert communities so that we can expand access to healthy food.   

“This bill also reverses years of harmful cuts to the EPA. This year, we have substantially increased funding for the EPA, which will improve our nation’s ability to protect the health of our communities, our environment and to ensure clean water for our children and families.

“For my district, I am particularly pleased that this bill includes $26 million to continue progress in the building of a state-of-the-art VA Outpatient Clinic and National Cemetery in Alameda Point. This facility will serve over 100,000 veterans and is critical to ensure veterans in my congressional district receive the care they need and deserve.”

Other Highlights of the Bill passage include: 

Department of Transportation (DOT)  The bill provides a total of $86.6 billion in total budgetary resources for DOT - $167 million above the 2019 enacted level and $3.7 billion above the President’s budget request.  Of this amount, the bill includes:  

  • $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD), $100 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $10 million to start a new Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence.   
  •  $17.7 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $267 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $48.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration. $1.7 billion above the President’s budget request.  
  •  $677 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, $10 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $1 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, $44 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  •  $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, $96 million above the 2019 enacted   
  • $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $60 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  •  $40 million for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, $4 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $1.1 billion for the Maritime Administration  

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)— The bill provides a total of $50.1 billion for HUD - $5.9 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $13.4 billion above the President’s budget request.  FHA and GNMA receipts are -$7.4 billion, $2.1 billion less in receipts than the 2019 enacted bill.  Of the $50.1 billion, the bill includes:  

  • $32.7 billion for the Office of Public and Indian Housing, $1.7 billion above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $23.8 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance, $1.2 billion above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $40 million for HUD/VA Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans,   
  • $5 million for HUD/VA Supportive Housing for Homeless Native American Veterans, $1 million above the 2019 enacted level.   
  • $2.9 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, $80 million above the 2019 enacted level.    
  •   $4.8 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, $100 million above the 2019 $300 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, $150 million above the 2019 enacted level.    
  •   $855 million for Native American Programs, $35 million above the 2019 enacted   
  • $150 million for Self-Sufficiency Programs, $20 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $8.6 billion for the Office of Community Planning and Development, $917 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $410 million for Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, $17 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $3.6 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $300 million above the 2019 enacted level.   
  • $1.75 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, $500 million above the 2019 enacted level.   
  • $40 million for Section 4 Capacity Building, $5 million above the 2019 enacted level.   
  • $2.8 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $164 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $13.7 billion for the Office of Housing, $1.1 billion above the 2019 enacted level   
  •  $12.6 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, $843 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $803 million for Housing for the Elderly, $125 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $259 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities, $74 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  •  $60 million for Housing Counseling, $10 million above the 2019 level   
  • $98 million for Policy Development and Research, $2 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $75.3 million for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, $10 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • $290 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, $11 million above the 2019 enacted level   
  • The bill provides $380 million for the related agencies in the bill, $19 million above the 2019 enacted level and $146 million above the President’s budget request.  
  • $170 million for NeighborWorks, $18 million above the 2019 enacted level.   
  • $4.1 million for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, $500,000 above the 2019 enacted level  

Policy Provisions –  

  • Blocks the administration’s public housing rule change on undocumented immigrants in affordable housing, which would threaten the housing tenure of 55,000 children who are citizens or legal residents.  
  • Prohibits NHTSA from finalizing a rule that would roll back fuel-economy standards and lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.  
  • Prohibits future attacks on state meal and rest break laws.  
  • Requires all HUD grantees to develop a resiliency plan as part of the consolidated planning process. 

Department of Agriculture 

  • Title I—Agriculture Programs  
    • Local Agriculture Market Program: Bill includes $23.4M within AMS and RD  
    • NIFA: Includes increases for 1890 programs (Evans-Allen, 1890 Capacity Grants, 1890 Student Scholarships, and Centers of Excellence).  
    • NIFA Food and Ag Service Learning Program: Includes an additional $1M for the program’s third year of operation.  
    • Includes an increase of $30 million for the AFRI competitive research program in NIFA.  
    • Includes requested report language on greenhouse technology research within ARS.  
    • NIFA Capacity Building for Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture: Includes $5M   
    • NIFA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education: Includes $45M.  
    • NIFA Hispanic Serving Institutions Education Grants: Includes $20M for education grants, an increase of $11 million over fiscal year 2019.  
    • NIFA/ARS Alfalfa Crop Production: Includes an increase of $1M to Alfalfa Crop Research within ARS and an increase of $2M within NIFA.  
    • NIFA Food Safety Outreach and Education: Includes $10M, an increase of $2M over fiscal year 2019.  
    • NIFA Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative: Includes $8M, the same level as fiscal year 2019.  
    • ARS U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative: Includes an increase of $2M to this ongoing research program.  
    • National Organic Program: Includes $18M  
    • Organic Production Market and Data Initiatives: Provides $0.5M since the program also has mandatory funds from the Farm Bill  
    • Wildlife Services:  Provides $128.6M  
    • Specialty Crop Pests Program: Provides $186.5M  
    • Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Program: Provides $32.3M   
    • Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP):  Provides $61M   
    • Huanglongbing (HLB) Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group: Provides $8.5M   
    • APHIS Emergency Management:  Provides $41.4M   
    • Animal Health: Provides $352.6M  
    • Horse Protection: Provides $1M  
    • Market Protection and Promotion Programs: Provides $182.9M with $16.5M is for the Hemp Production Program.  
    • Shell Egg Surveillance and Standardization:  Provides $7.7M  
  •  Title II—Farm Production and Conservation Programs  
    • Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production: Includes $5 million.   
    • Urban Agriculture Data Collection: report language included that directs USDA to collect urban agriculture in the next agriculture census (2022).     
  • Title III—Rural Development Programs  
    • Includes $10M for the HFFI program   
    • Water Well Grant systems:  Includes $15M for water well grant programs   
    • Sec 502 Direct Loans: Includes $1B for Sec 502 direct loans for low-income borrowers   
  •  Title IV—Domestic Food Programs  
    • WIC Farmers Market: Bill includes $18.5M,  
    • WIC: Bill includes $6 Billion, which covers estimated participation in FY 2020.   
    • SNAP Reserve: Increased by $2 Billion. (Total funding = $5B)  
    • School Breakfast Expansion Grants: Bill includes $10M. First time since FY 2012 that this program has been funded.  
    • Summer EBT: $50M   
    • TEFAP Commodities: Bill includes $320.7M   
    • School Kitchen Equipment Grants: Bill includes $35M   
    • School Kitchen Equipment Grants lower minimum: Bill language included/maintained to keep that value at greater than $1,000.   
    • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): The bill provides an increase of $22.1M to meet estimated caseloads in FY 2020. (Total funding = $245M) 

Department of Interior 

  • $10 million for Historic Preservation Fund competitive grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to provide much-needed assistance to schools combating increased challenges associated with maintaining their schools and gaining access to capital for campus improvements. We request $50 million in FY 2020 for this program.  
  • $500,000 for the 400 Years of African American History Commission.   
  • $23.25 million for Underrepresented Communities Civil Rights Grant Program, to preserve the sites and stories associated with securing civil rights for all Americans, including women, Native Americans, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, American Latino, and LGBTQ Americans.   
  • $121.66 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, to carry out the National Historic Preservation Act, which provides citizens the tools they need to revitalize, rehabilitate, and protect the places that give meaning to America.    
  • $108.6 million for the Office of Insular Affairs to combat the economic and fiscal problems for U.S.-affiliated insular areas, oversee vital projects that foster economic development, promote sound financial management in the insular governments, and improve the quality of life for islanders while respecting and preserving their native cultures.   
  • $3.155 million to preserve and protect Japanese American Confinement Sites, which help to connect today’s Americans with the history and meaning of the internment.  
  • $7.1 million for U.S. Geological Survey’s Global Seismographic Network, which provides data for earthquake monitoring, warning, and response, tsunami detection and warning, and underground nuclear explosion detection.  
  • $1.3 billion for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).  
  • $167.5 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which is the largest funder of humanities programs in the United States. Numerous sectors of our country’s educational system – from private research universities to state colleges to community colleges – utilize NEH grants.   
  • $167.5 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts engagement, and in which every community recognizes and celebrates its aspirations and achievements through the arts.  
  • $3.39 billion for the Operation of the National Park Service.   
  • $105 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program to support states, local communities, and tribes in their efforts to assess and clean up potentially contaminated and lightly contaminated sites within their jurisdiction.  
  • $1.2 billion for the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account.   
  • $38.3 million for the USCS National and Regional Climate Science Centers to prepare for, respond to, and reduce the negative consequences of climate extremes.   
  • $19 million for West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System.   
  • $30 million for the USGS Volcano Hazards Program.   

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies 

  • $44 million for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), to promote the growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research.   
  • $498 million for Economic Development Assistance Programs (EDA) to strengthen local economies and create jobs.    
  • $65 million for Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to protect, restore, and conserve Pacific salmonids and their habitats.   
  • $9 million for the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) and Environmental Literacy Grant programs (ELGs), which enable students to learn about our ocean environment and instill lifelong commitment to the importance of ocean stewardship.   
  • $81 million for Coastal Management Grants: Regional Coastal Resilience Grants to strengthen coastal infrastructure and support coastal research, resiliency, conservation, and restoration work.   
  • $56.5 million for Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas to drive visitation and growth, increase community engagement, conduct cooperative research, and enable sanctuaries to respond to the groundswell of communities nationwide seeking to expand sites or propose and designate new ones.  
  • $595 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support research, education, and exploratory programs and partnerships critical to NOAA’s overall mission.  
  • $3.4 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance Justice Grant programs: 
    • $582.5 million for Violence Against Women Act programs 
    • $530.25 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants 
    • $260 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program 
    • $142 million for DNA Initiative Grants 
    • $49 million for Reduce Sexual Assault Kits Backlog grants 
    • $100 million for Anti-Human Trafficking grants 
    • $375 million for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act grants 
    • $85 million for Missing and Exploited Children programs.