Washington, DC — Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) highlighted numerous priorities of Massachusetts and the Third Congressional District included in H.R. 3055, the second “minibus” packages of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills. This bill passed the House on Tuesday, June 25.
“This appropriations package secures a number of important wins for Massachusetts’ Third Congressional District and communities across the United States. By making the smart investments that our constituents expect, Congress is taking decisive action to position our families, workforce, and communities to thrive. After years of chronic under-funding, the programs this bill invests in reflect our values, and will grow our economy, protect our environment, repair our infrastructure, strengthen our health care, and set the United States up for continued success,” said Congresswoman Trahan.
“I am particularly encouraged by the robust funding support for the upcoming 2020 Census, getting resources to individuals and communities in need as a result of the opioid addiction crisis, and much needed investments in grant programs to help municipalities like Lowell, Lawrence, or Haverhill upgrade antiquated sewer systems that lead to harmful CSO river contamination. This legislation makes great strides toward building a stronger America that works for everyone. I am proud to support it,” continued Congresswoman Trahan.
H.R. 3055 totals $383.3 billion in discretionary budget authority and consists of five FY 2020 appropriations bills: Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.
Some of Congresswoman Trahan’s top priorities included in H.R. 3055 were:
- $8.45 billion for the 2020 Census. The bill’s report also includes new language, included at the request of Rep. Trahan, encouraging the Census Bureau to expand its use of telephonic support for non-English speakers. (“The Census Bureau is encouraged to continue establishing key partnerships and hire those with language skills outside of those [59 other non-English] languages covered through telephonic support for the 2020 Census.”). Additionally, this request follows on a Congressional letter that Rep. Trahan led to the Census Bureau urging it to offer telephonic support to speakers of Khmer, Hmong and Laotian, which are not among the 59 languages currently supported.
- $90 million for the EPA’s Sewer Overflow Control grants program. This program received no funding in FY 2019. Consequently, Rep. Trahan led a letter co-signed by Reps. Moulton, Kuster and Pappas to the Appropriations Committee urging it to include funding for it in the FY 2020 budget. These competitive grants could be issued to benefit communities in the Merrimack River watershed improve their sewer systems.
- $1.093 million for the National Park Service’s Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program. This funding level will provide funding for both the SuAsCo and the newly designated Nashua wild and scenic rivers. Rep. Trahan’s first piece of legislation was a bill to authorize the designation of the Nashua river as part of the Wild and Scenic River System. Moreover, she urged the Appropriations Committee to provide funding for the SuAsCo, Nashua, and other designated rivers.
- $10 million for the Farm Opportunities Training and Outreach program. This program supports outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers. It has been used locally by the World Farmers program at Flats Mentor farm in Lancaster.
- $22 million for the National Park Service’s Heritage Partnership program. These funds will support heritage areas, including Essex National Heritage Area.
- $222 million for Veterans Suicide Prevention and Outreach. Veteran suicides are an extremely urgent issue. In Massachusetts, veterans commit suicide nearly twice as often as the general population. The nationwide average is even greater.
- $170 million for NeighborWorks (Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation). This program invests in community-based organizations, and it has benefited Lowell’s Coalition for a Better Acre, Fitchburg’s NewVue communities, and Lawrence CommunityWorks.
- $80 million for National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). These funds will be used to prevent unlawful gun purchases.
- $582.5 million for Violence Against Women Act grants.
- $6 billion for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and $71.1 billion for SNAP.