Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, early Wednesday morning announced that more than $167 million in funding for specific Vermont projects across the state was included in the fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which funds the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year. Congress is expected to pass the bill in the coming days. Leahy has headed the arduous Senate negotiations on the Omnibus Appropriations bill for the last several months. See provisions of the entire $1.5 trillion bill below, which includes more aid for Ukraine.
Leahy said: “As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I made sure that Vermonters have had a center seat at the table. From providing resources to grow ‘made in Vermont’ ideas like the farm to school program, to supporting our rural village and downtown spaces, and everything in between, this bill reflects Vermont priorities and ideas and values. I am proud to have worked with community leaders in our Green Mountain State to include these projects and proposals in this comprehensive Appropriations bill.”
Leahy was a driving force behind restoring the practice of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) in more than a decade that allows Members of Congress, and not just unelected federal agency officials, to have a direct say in how taxpayer dollars are spent in their communities. In April 2021, Leahy imposed additional reforms to improve transparency and accountability in this process. More about those reforms is available HERE.
Vermont highlights of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) projects secured by Leahy in the fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill include:
Institute for Rural Partnerships: Leahy secured $10 million to establish an Institute for Rural Partnerships at the University of Vermont. Rural states face unique challenges in everything from broadband connectivity to water quality, and the University of Vermont is leading the state and the nation in researching new ways to address these challenges. Leahy secured an additional $30 million dollars in programmatic funding to support such institutes.
National Farm to School Institute: Leahy secured $5 million to establish a National Farm To School Institute at Shelburne Farms in Vermont to provide technical and practical assistance to farm to school programs in Vermont and around the country. Shelburne Farms has been a longtime leader in Farm to School activities.
Bennington Readiness Center: Leahy secured $16.9 million to replace the nearly 100-year-old Vermont National Guard Readiness Center in Bennington that is currently home to B Troop and the 1-172 Mountain Cavalry.
Other Vermont CDS highlights include:
Aviation Tech Center at the Burlington Tech Center – $10 million
Church Street Marketplace Pedestrian Improvements – $1 million
Historic Preservation of the Paramount Theater, East Monitor Barn, and African-American Arts & Culture Center at the Clemmons Family Farm – $1.5 million
Statewide Recreation Trails through the Vermont Huts Association – $2.5 million
Vermont Nursing Career Pipeline through the Vermont Business Roundtable Research and Education Foundation – $1.2 million
Recovery and Economic Resiliency Loans through the Vermont Center for Emerging Technology (VCET) – $9 million
Lake Champlain Basin environmental infrastructure and habitat restoration projects –$5.25 million
A comprehensive list of the CDS for Vermont secured by Leahy can be found HERE.
As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy was also able to secure formula funding increases and programmatic changes to support longtime Vermont priorities. Highlights of these include:
Dairy Business Innovation Centers: Leahy secured $25 million, a $3 million increase, for the Dairy Business Innovation Centers, which improve the economic viability and resilience of dairy producers. One of the centers is located in Vermont and received $6 million in fiscal year 2021. The USDA last week announced an additional $20 million for the center through the American Recovery Plan Act.
Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program: Leahy secured $30 million for the program, which has provided thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country with more nearly 1.5 million vests, including – including more than 5,000 vests for Vermont law enforcement agencies.
Northern Border Regional Commission: Leahy secured over $65 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) across several agencies. NBRC is a federal-state partnership with a mission to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, and New York and all of Vermont. Since its inception, the Commission has awarded funding to 96 projects in Vermont totaling more than $24 million.
Lake Champlain Geographic Program: Leahy secured $20 million, a $5 million increase, for the Lake Champlain Geographic Program, which is an Environmental Protection Agency program designed to implement a comprehensive pollution prevention, control and restoration plan for protecting the Lake Champlain Basin.
Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants: Leahy secured $10 million, a $2.5 million increase, for Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants. Named in honor of Vermonter Paul Bruhn, a longtime champion of historic preservation and the original founder of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the program supports rural communities working to revitalize historic properties in their communities of national, state and local significance in order to restore, protect and foster economic development in rural villages and downtown areas.
Other Leahy-led formula funding and programmatic highlights include:
Historic Preservation Grants – $159 million
Great Lakes Fisheries Commission – $9 million
Rural Centers Against Addiction (UVM) – $10 million
Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
The $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill was released Wednesday. The omnibus includes a 6.7 percent increase for non-defense discretionary programs, the largest increase in four years. The bill makes significant investments in communities around the country, funds critical programs supporting America’s middle class families, protects our nation’s veterans, and invests in our national security.
Leahy said: “This bill makes bold investments in critical areas that went underfunded or even neglected in the previous administration, including education, childcare, healthcare, the environment, science and research, and many more. It provides critical assistance to Ukraine and our NATO allies at a time when they need it the most, and it provides much-needed resources to ensure American can continue its battle against the coronavirus, both at home and abroad. It is unquestionably in the interest of the American people that the House and the Senate act quickly to pass this bill and send it to the President. This agreement is the product of months of hard work and compromise, and I want to thank my friends Vice Chairman Shelby, Chair DeLauro, and Ranking Member Granger.”
Democrats fought for the largest increase in non-defense discretionary spending in four years to allow Congress to make new investments in science and research, health care, climate change adaptation and mitigation, supporting mental health and combatting the opioid epidemic, and the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure bill among other priorities. A full summary of investments Democrats fought to include in the omnibus is available HERE.
Included among these priorities is $1 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).
Proposed in President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget request, ARPA-H will pursue new research and treatments for devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, infectious diseases, and cancer. It supports our public schools and access to a college education, providing $17.5 billion for Title I-A grants to schools and a $400 increase in the maximum Pell grant award, the largest increase in both programs in more than a decade.
The bill supports early education and child care by including more than $11 billion for Head Start and $6 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant.
It provides the largest increase in 12 years for the National Science Foundation to support research, development and scientific advancements here in the United States. It supports our veterans by providing an 8.7 percent increase for VA Medical Care. And it invests billions into making housing more affordable and safe.
The bill includes $13.6 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and our NATO allies.
It includes $15.6 billion in emergency assistance to continue to combat the COVID pandemic, ensuring we have the vaccines and therapeutics needed combat this virus, including critical aid to fight the virus abroad.
Summaries of funding for Ukraine and COVID can be found HERE and HERE.
This bill invests in future prosperity, in our health, and reduces everyday costs for millions of Americans, such as child care, a college education, and heating and cooling costs.
Top highlights are available HERE.
Bill text is available HERE.
A summary of the omnibus by subcommittee is available below:
Commerce, Justice, Science
Energy and Water
Financial Services and General Government
Homeland Security (Summary Forthcoming)
Interior and Environment
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Programs
Military Construction and VA
State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies (Summary Forthcoming)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
Source: WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, March 9, 2022) – Senator Patrick Leahy
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