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N.M. Congressional Democrats Pass Historic Investments In FY22 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) passed historic funding for New Mexico in the historic bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for Fiscal Year 2022. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 9, and the U.S. Senate today, Thursday, March 10. It now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. 

The $1.5 trillion omnibus includes a 6.7 percent increase for non-defense discretionary programs, the largest increase in four years. The bill funds critical programs to lower costs for hardworking American families, supports our nation’s veterans, and invests in our national security. New Mexico Congressional Democrats fought to include investments in science and research, health care, veterans, affordable housing, education, public safety, conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, supporting mental health and combatting the opioid epidemic, and Tribes, among other priorities.

“In my first congress serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I worked hard to make sure we delivered forward-looking investments for New Mexico’s families and communities. This agreement includes historic investments for New Mexico’s national labs and military bases and strengthens our commitment to vital education, health care, housing, public safety, and veterans services. It will also fund efforts to mitigate and adapt to the threat of climate change and help us implement the game changing Infrastructure Law that is already repairing roads and bridges, building new clean water infrastructure, improving public transit systems, and expanding broadband internet service, particularly in rural and Tribal communities,” said Heinrich. “Throughout this process, I have been working hand-in-hand with communities in every corner of New Mexico to ensure that more federal dollars find their way to New Mexico. I took a proactive approach to seek out local projects that will truly have an impact on New Mexicans’ lives—everything from roads, emergency services, waste and water infrastructure for Tribal communities, support for small businesses, education opportunities, and more.”

For a list of local projects that Senator Heinrich secured for New Mexicans, click here. 

“New Mexicans deserve a federal government that actively listens to their needs and works diligently to meet them,” said Luján. “These investments will serve every corner of our state by modernizing our roads and bridges, lowering the cost of child care, and combating the growing threat of climate change. I was pleased to secure over 70 projects funded for more than $130 million, and work alongside the rest of New Mexico’s Democratic delegation to secure additional investments, ensuring our communities are supported for generations to come.”

“My top priority in Congress is to ensure that our communities have a seat at the table and that federal resources reach our communities across New Mexico,” said Stansbury.“That’s why we rolled up our sleeves on day one after I was elected, in collaboration with Senators Heinrich and Luján, to secure over $10 million for crucial projects across our district. I am proud to work alongside members of our New Mexico delegation to deliver for our communities—with historic investments in our economy, safety, community well-being, and clean energy future—and this budget does just that!”

For a list of local projects that Representative Stansbury secured, click here. 

“This historic bill grows the economy, invests in America’s families and children, creates opportunity, supports our veterans, addresses the climate crisis, and unlocks America’s potential in so many ways. From supporting water projects across my district and clean energy apprenticeships, to diversifying our economy and upholding our tribal trust responsibilities, this bill is teeming with life-changing investments for New Mexicans. With strong support from our communities, we obtained more than $74 million in funding that will go directly to health care, education, water, housing, and infrastructure projects throughout my district. This legislation helps my beautiful and beautifully diverse district thrive.” said Leger Fernández.

For a list of local projects that Representative Leger Fernández secured, click here. 

A summary of the omnibus by subcommittee is available below:

A list of toplines Democrats included in the Omnibus is below:

Support for Public Schools: Democrats secured historic levels of funding to support public school teachers and students and invest in our children’s future. The bill includes:

  • $17.5 billion, the largest increase in more than a decade, for Title I-A grants to local educational agencies to support student achievement, including through preschool programs for eligible children.
  • $14.2 billion, a $433 million increase, for special education state grant programs that support services to nearly 9 million students and children with a disability.
  • $75 million, double the funding from last year, for Full Community Services Schools, which integrate student supports and family engagement to improved student attendance.
  • $1.29 billion, an increase of $30 million, for 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which serves 1.6 million students across the country.

College Access, Affordability, and Completion: Affordable access to higher education is a pillar to achieving the American dream and essential to driving our economy forward in the 21st century. The bill includes:

  • $400 increase in the maximum Pell grant award, the largest increase in more than a decade, which will help 7 million students pursue a postsecondary education.
  • $1.1 billion, an increase of $40 million, for TRIO, which helps more than 800,000 low-income individuals, first generation college students, and individuals with disabilities prepare for and get into college and succeed when they’re there.
  • $378 million, an increase of $10 million for GEAR UP, which helps almost 600,000 low-income students beginning in middle school and through high school prepare for a postsecondary education.
  • $65 million, an increase of $10 million, for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program to increase access to affordable and convenient child care options for student parents.
  • $885 million, an increase of $96 million, for a programs to strengthen HBCUs, MSI, and other historically under-resourced institutions of higher education serving a high percentage of low-income students. 

Making Housing More Affordable and Safe: Democrats included critical resources to expand opportunities for affordable housing and provide assistance to families struggling to avoid unsafe housing conditions or from falling into homelessness. In addition to providing the resources to preserve rental assistance to the more than 5 million HUD-assisted, low-income households amid significant rent increases, the bill includes:

  • $280 million for 32,800 new housing vouchers.
  • $3.2 billion, a 16 percent increase, for public housing capital formula funds.
  • $350 million, a 75 percent increase, for Choice Neighborhoods.
  • $1.5 billion, an 11 percent increase and the highest level of funding provided in the past decade, for new affordable housing production through the HOME program.
  • $4.8 billion for community and economic development.
  • More than $1 billion, a 21 percent increase, for Housing for the Elderly.
  • $352 million, a 55 percent increase, for Housing for Persons Disabilities.
  • More than $1 billion, a 24 percent increase, for Native community housing programs.
  • $415 million, a 15 percent increase, for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes to address lead-based paint and other environmental hazards in low-income and HUD-assisted housing.
  • $489 million, a $24 million increase, for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides civil legal assistance to low-income persons including those involved in housing and foreclosure cases. 

Child Care and Early Child Education: Any young family understands that the cost of child care is far too high and the pandemic forced millions of women to leave the workforce because they could not afford child care. Democrats secured strong support to lower the cost of child care, including:

  • $11.036 billion, a $288.7 million increase, for Head Start. This increase will allow a cost-of-living adjustment for Head Start teachers and staff, and includes quality improvement funding to help Head Start programs recruit and retain teachers.
  • $6.165 billion, a 4.4 percent increase, for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Particularly as the pandemic has upended child care for many working parents, the increase will help ensure families have access to high-quality, affordable care for their children.

Preventing Homelessness for Vulnerable Households: More than 580,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in 2020. Democrats are committed to helping communities design and implement local solutions to end homelessness and included $3.213 billion, a 6.6 percent increase, for Homeless Assistance Grants. This includes:

  • $2.8 billion to fully meet the Continuum of Care program’s renewal need.
  • $290 million for Emergency Solutions Grants.
  • $107 million for new investments to support homeless youth, including a $25 million increase targeted to improving coordination across local systems serving homeless youth.
  • $52 million for new rapid rehousing projects that serve victims and survivors of domestic violence.

Climate Change and the Environment: The climate crisis poses a significant threat to human health and the environment. After four years of denial and inaction by the Trump administration, Democrats included significant new funding to mitigate and adapt to the threat of climate change. The bill includes:

  • $3.2 billion – a historic level of funding and a 12 percent increase – for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to support vehicle technologies, wind power, solar energy, weatherization assistance programs, and renewable grid integration.
  • $2.94 billion at the Department of Energy to support research, development, and demonstration of cybersecurity, grid innovation, and carbon-free power sources keeping the United States at the forefront of energy innovation.
  • $1.903 billion to the Department of Transportation to mitigate the effects of climate change in our transportation system.
  • $1.234 billion for the new Carbon Reduction program to help reduce transportation related greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $425 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean air programs to tackle the existential threat of climate change and address the continuing burden of harmful air pollution on communities across the country.
  • $92 million for diesel emission clean up grants that take high polluting diesel engines off the streets and out of communities.
  • $31.97 million for Tribal Climate Resiliency funding through Bureau of Indian Affairs to help Tribal communities address and prepare for the effects of climate change.
  • $2.7 billion for State Revolving Loan funds to build climate resilient water infrastructure and address other priority water challenges.
  • $1.23 billion for EPA’s Superfund program to create jobs and protect the public by cleaning up hazardous waste sites and $46 million for brownfield grants that tackle contaminated properties and power local economic growth.
  • $5.877 billion, an 8 percent increase, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for, among other things, climate modeling and prediction and helping communities adapt to a change climate. This amount includes a more than $40 million increase for various NOAA climate-related projects and programs, such as $18 million for climate research and $6.25 million for offshore wind permitting and expansion.
  • $41.5 million, a 24 percent increase, for the Assistance to Coal Communities Program within the Economic Development Administration at the Department of Commerce to support communities transitioning away from coal-fired power plants.
  • $587 million in EPA geographic programs to restore and build the resilience of priority waterbodies across the country through community-led initiatives.
  • $100 million for environmental justice programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, a transformational expansion of the current $12 million program to better address the disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities of color and low-income communities.
  • $100 million for Military Installation Resilience to enable the Department of Defense to address infrastructure needs to prepare for and address current and future risks from climate change. 

Supporting Our Veterans and Investing in Our Troops: Congressional Democrats are committed to supporting the women and men in the armed services and their families and providing the necessary resources to support our veterans. The bill includes:

  • $97.5 billion, an 8.7 percent increase, for VA Medical Care to provide essential health services for 9.2 million veterans, including funds for rural health programs, veterans’ homelessness prevention, and mental health. 
  • $1.44 billion to support troop housing projects, child development centers, and the construction, renovation, and repair of public schools on military instillations.
  • $278.1 million for housing and rental assistance.
  • $119.6 million in food assistance to support service members and their families struggling to put food on the table.

Investing in Science, Research, and Development: Democrats secured historic increases for science, research, and development. Investing in science is investing in innovation and our country’s competitive advantage. The bill includes:

  • $1 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects for Health, the President’s bold and promising proposal to accelerate the pace of breakthroughs in medicine.
  • $351 million increase for the National Science Foundation – the largest increase in 12 years– for a total funding level of $8.84 billion. This includes $900 million for climate and clean energy research, a $45 million increase. NSF is the funding source for approximately 25 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.
  • $7.475 billion, a 6 percent increase, for the Department of Energy Office of Science to advance the highest priorities to maintain U.S. scientific leadership. The Office of Science is the largest federal sponsor of basic research in the physical sciences.
  • $44.959 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $2.25 billion or 5.3 percent to advance science and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics and preventive measures. 

Strengthening Police-Community Relations and Supporting Law Enforcement: Democrats are committed to ensuring our communities are safe while restoring trust, promoting equal justice, and holding law enforcement accountable. The bill includes:

  • $201 million, a 31 percent increase, for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant programs, including funding for de-escalation, implicit bias, duty to intervene training, and crisis intervention teams.
  • $3.88 billion, a 15 percent increase, in DOJ grants to state and local law enforcement and communities to prevent and respond to crime. o The Byrne-JAG program is funded at $674.5 million, with $382 million, a 6 percent increase, being released to support state, local, Tribal, and territorial criminal justice systems.
    • COPS Hiring grants are funded at $246 million, which will place approximately 1,700 more police officers on the streets of our communities.
    • Funding is also included for programs that support training for officers to properly handle interactions with individuals who have mental illness or a disability ($10 million), officer mental health and wellness ($8 million), the purchase of body cameras ($35 million) and bulletproof vests ($30 million), and rural law enforcement needs ($8 million).

Opioids & Substance Misuse

The United States reached new records in the number of drug overdose fatalities during the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 100,000 lives lost to drug overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021. Democrats are committed to ending the scourge of opioid and substance abuse and bill includes important investments to address the nation’s substance misuse crisis, including:

  • $4.2 billion, a 9 percent increase, across the Department of Health and Human Services to address opioid abuse.
  • $1.525 billion for the State Opioid Response Grant program.
  • $50 million increase for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.
  • $101 million, a nearly 11 percent increase, for medication assisted treatment.
  • $490 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at CDC.
  • $80 million to address the needs of children affected by the opioid crisis.
  • $135 million targeted to help affected rural communities.

Mental Health: Mental health care is health care, and Democrats secured significant new investments to improve mental health access and the nation’s system of crisis care. These investments include:

  • $101.6 million – a $77.6 million increase – for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to successfully transition to 988.
  • $315 million, a $65 million increase, for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
  • $857.6 million, a 13.2 percent increase, for the Mental Health Block Grant, which continues a 5 percent set aside for states to create crisis care programs.
  • $10 million for a new grant program to improve mental health crisis care responses.
  • $10 million, a $2 million increase, for infant and early childhood mental health.
  • $120 million, a $13 million increase, for Project AWARE, which will expand efforts to identify and help children and youth in need of mental health care.
  • $111 million, a $90 million increase, for Department of Education programs designed to increase the availability of mental health services in schools.

Support for Tribes: The bill provides an increase of more than $500 million for the Indian Health Service and tribal programs in the Department of the Interior and additional clean energy funding at the Department of Energy including:

  • $4.66 billion, an 8.3 percent increase, for tribal health services, including mental health and suicide prevention.
  • $25 million, a 25 percent increase, to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women cases in Indian Country.
  • $7 million in new funding for an Indian Boarding School initiative to conduct a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.
  • $58 million, a 164 percent increase for the Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the Department of Energy, to help deploy clean energy across Indian Country.

Addressing Food Insecurity: More than 38 million people, including 12 million children, in the United States are food insecure. Congressional Democrats fought to secure new resources to help American families put food on the table and ensure that over 4 million low income women and children do not see their benefits reduced at the end of April. The bill includes:

  • An extension of the WIC Cash Value Voucher program, a special $35 monthly benefit for purchasing fruits and vegetables that would have expired in April.
  • 6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which supported 6.2 million low-income women, infants and children younger than five per month in fiscal year 2020.
  • $140.4 billion, a 23 percent increase, for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides a lifeline to more than 40 million people every year.
  • $26.8 billion, a 7 percent increase, for Child Nutrition Programs.

Public Health and Preparedness: As a nation, we were unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. Decades of underinvestment in public health infrastructure and erosion of the public health workforce contributed to the pandemic’s heavy toll. To ensure we are prepared for the next public health crisis, Democrats secured new and historic investments in rebuilding our public health infrastructure and key investments in our preparedness and response capabilities. The bill also includes $1 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, the President’s bold and promising proposal to accelerate the pace of breakthroughs in medicine. Other funding increases include:

  • 7 percent increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with new, flexible funding for CDC to support our public health infrastructure and strengthen state and local governments’ infrastructure and capacity to respond to emerging public health threats.
  • 19.8 percent increase for the Strategic National Stockpile that will allow us to maintain an inventory of supplies and a modern distribution model to ensure readiness for a future pandemic.
  • 24.8 percent increase for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support novel vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic platforms that will enable quicker, more effective public health and medical responses to detect and respond to infectious diseases and health emergencies.
  • 5.3 percent increase for the National Institutes of Health, with this investment Congress has increased funding for NIH over the past seven years.

Wildland Fire and Fire Prevention: Increasingly intense wildfires have destroyed communities across the country. Democrats secured funding to combat these wildfires and prevent them in the first place. This funding includes:

  • $5.7 billion, a 5.5 percent increase, for the Forest Service to radically improve forest restoration and fire risk reduction efforts and to increase year-round staffing to carry out this work.
  • $2.45 billion for the Wildfire Suppression Operations Reserve Fund.

Rebuilding our Highways and Implementing the IIJA: Democrats built on the historic investments included in the bipartisan infrastructure law to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and the roads, highways and bridges that connect our communities. These investments include:

  • $60.657 billion, an $11.5 billion increase, for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) activities.