WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSFA) - “Critical funding” for Alabama has been secured, according to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), after final passage Tuesday of the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill as well as the Defense Appropriations Bill.
“This is the most significant step we have taken yet,” Shelby said of the the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.
“This package increases NIH’s [National Institutions of Health] budget by $2 billion and provides critical resources to combat the opioid epidemic... Not only does this package fund domestic priorities, but it also accelerates the rebuilding of America’s military and provides our men and women in uniform with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade.”
“Addressing our nation’s health and education needs is vital to the overall well-being of the American people,” Shelby said. “Passage of this bill is a critical step forward in showcasing our state’s ability to lead the charge in medical breakthroughs and groundbreaking research. The legislation also provides funding to prioritize programs that allow Alabama schools to continue to succeed. I am confident that this bill will positively influence the lives of all Alabamians.”
Shelby, who serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the bills hold critical funding for his home state.
Among the parts of the Labor-HHS-Education bill that impact Alabama:
- $39.084 billion, a $2 billion increase, for the National Institutes of Health.
- Opioid Funding – $3.8 billion, an increase of $206 million above FY2018. This level includes $1.5 billion for the State Opioid Response grant in SAMHSA, replacing the sun-setting 21st Century CURES funds, and maintains 15 percent set-aside to the most impacted states and $50 million for Tribes. Additional funding includes:
- $65 million increase for Community Health Center opioid efforts;
- $50 million increase for Behavioral Health Clinics;
- $500 million to continue NIH research related to opioids and pain management. In addition, NIH will spend $774 million, a $58 million increase.
- $440 million for the Charter Schools Program, an increase of $40 million.
- $325 million for the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program, an increase of $10 million. The President's Budget proposed to eliminate this program.
- $20 million for HRSA's Delta States Rural Development Network Grant program, an increase of $6 million. This level includes $8 million, an increase of $4 million, to help small rural hospitals improve financial and operational performance.
- $317.79 million for HRSA's Rural Health programs, an increase of $27 million.
- $6.14 billion included for NIH's National Cancer Institute, an increase of $186.9 million.
- $22.8 million for poison control centers, an increase of $2 million.
- $7.5 million for CDC Lupus Patient Registry, an increase of $1 million.
The bill was included in the conference report to accompany H.R. 6157, the minibus appropriations package which also contains the FY2019 Department of Defense funding bill, according to Shelby’s office.
On the Defense Appropriations Bill, Shelby says Alabama will benefit in multiple areas.
In the Wiregrass region:
- An additional $95 million for Future Vertical Lift research, which will help accelerate development of helicopters flown at Fort Rucker.
- $10 million to upgrade Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
- $1.0 billion for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles.
- $111 million for Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs). The measure also encourages the Navy to evaluate the capabilities and costs of a surface-launched LRASM.
- $307 million for Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGMs).
- $663 million for Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSMs), which recently made its debut in strikes on Syria in response to their use of chemical weapons.
- $484 million for Hellfire missiles, which are made in Troy and used for training at Fort Rucker.
- $254 million for Javelin missiles for the Army and Marine Corps.
In north Alabama:
- Army Research – $11.1 billion for investments in transformational technologies to address modern and future Army warfighting needs.
- Missile Defense – $10.4 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), including $1.1 billion to support urgent MDA unfunded priorities and emergent threats. The measure included $191 million for Standard Missile Improvements, which are built in Decatur, and supports work done by MDA at Redstone Arsenal and many local companies.
- Directed Energy – $184 million in additional funding to further develop directed energy technology and transition these activities to both offensive and defensive capabilities.
- Hypersonics – $664 million in additional funding to support and accelerate offensive and defensive hypersonics research and prototyping efforts.
- Cyber – $306 million in additional funding to expand and accelerate cyber research across the Department of Defense, including $127 million for Army cybersecurity research efforts and $116 million in Missile Defense Agency cybersecurity enhancements. The bill encourages the enhanced use of cyber red teams to address cyber intrusions that threaten our weapons systems, an area of particular excellence for Huntsville.
- Space – $200 million in additional funding for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) development efforts to ensure assured access to space. United Launch Alliance (ULA), which builds rockets in Decatur, continues to be seen as the most reliable and capable space launch provider.
- Advanced Shipbuilding Capabilities – $15 million to establish North Alabama as a center for classified, high power large-scale electron beam welding. This technology is critical to new Navy Columbia-class submarines and many high-performance aerospace systems such as hypersonic reentry vehicles, scramjet missiles, and rocket and jet engine turbomachinery.
- Small Glide Munitions – An additional $15 million to integrate Small Glide Munitions onto on Unmanned Aerial Systems. This highly successful weapon is used by Special Operations Command and built in Huntsville.
- $276 million for Hydra rockets, which are built in Anniston and fired from Army and Marine Corps helicopters.
- Funding for Army Vehicles which are overhauled and maintained at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD):
- $2.5 billion to continue modernizing M1 Abrams tanks;
- $393 million for Stryker vehicles, including an additional $94 million to support increased Stryker DVH A1 conversions;
- An additional $110 million for Paladin Integrated Management artillery vehicles; and
- $18 million in additional funding for M88A2 Hercules Improved Recovery vehicles.
Mobile’s shipbuilding industry:
- Two additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).
- One additional Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship.
- An additional $700 million in Advance Procurement for LPD and LHA amphibious ships.
The House is expected to pass the legislation within the next week before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.