November 11, 2020

Van Hollen Announces Maryland Priorities in Newly-Released Senate Appropriations Bills

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced funding for significant Maryland priorities within the proposed Appropriations bill texts released by the Committee Republican leadership. In his role on the Committee, Senator Van Hollen was successful in securing a number of Maryland wins, despite the partisan nature of the process. While the Senator was pleased to secure these measures, he also expressed his disappointment in the Committee process this year, as well as some parts of the bills that shortchange critical national priorities and provisions in the text that will negatively impact federal workers. The texts of these bills are expected to serve as a foundation for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2021 funding negotiations.

“To continue to move Maryland and our country forward, we must ensure that we’re investing crucial federal resources in our state and our communities. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, fighting for investments that benefit Marylanders is one of my top priorities. I pushed for a number of provisions within this package, including funds to support and expand critical federal facilities and military installations in Maryland, modernize our infrastructure and transportation networks, and boost research and preservation efforts for the Chesapeake Bay,” said Senator Van Hollen

“While I’m pleased we were successful in including these provisions, I am deeply disappointed that the Republican Committee Leadership sought to forgo the traditional Committee process, including the opportunity for markup and amendments to these bills. Within this package, Republicans intentionally avoided the opportunity for amendments to provide resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and reshape our investments in the area of criminal justice to create a more just system. While I support increased funding for K-12 and special education, the bills fall short of the investments that are necessary to fully support students and increase access to child care. And this Republican-led package continues to fund President Trump’s draconian immigration policies, including $2 billion for the inefficient and unnecessary border wall and a slush fund for ICE deportation. I am also disturbed to see the Republicans’ attempts to deny federal employees fair compensation and to undermine our civil service. This is simply the first step proposed by Senate Republicans, and as we seek to pass final legislation, I will fight to invest in vital priorities that are not included in this bill and to remove partisan poison pills,” the Senator added.

Maryland Priorities Included within the Bills:

To support federal facilities in Maryland, Senator Van Hollen fought for:

  • Language encouraging the FBI and GSA to submit a new proposal for a fully-consolidated headquarters building, including at least one of the previously-vetted sites, two of which are located in Prince George’s County. Following the Trump Administration’s stonewalling of the new, safer FBI headquarters that will appropriately meet the needs of the Bureau, Senator Van Hollen looks forward to pushing for renewed progress under the incoming Biden Administration.
  • A restoration of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. 
  • A $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health.
  • $80 million for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Addition/Alteration. This project will construct a new addition for in-patient and out-patient medical care, renovate the existing hospital Buildings 9 and 10, and provide information systems. 
  • $39.5 million to construct a new Reserve Training Center at Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown.
  • $250 million for the NSA West Campus project at Fort Meade.
  • Funding for several NASA projects based in Maryland, including Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formally known as W-FIRST) and the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean & Ecosystem mission (PACE). Funding is also included for the space launch facility at Wallops Island, VA.
  • $12 million to support infrastructure investments at the U.S. Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory near Cumberland.
  • $6 million for Naval advanced energetics research. Southern Maryland, particularly Indian Head, leads the nation in energetics research.
  • $24.5 million to fully fund the Agricultural Research Services facility project in Beltsville.
  • $9.4 million for an F-16 Mission Training Center at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County.
  • Full funding for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) at Fort Detrick and the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
  • Language directing the Army to continue its efforts to demolish contaminated buildings, an important project for Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is home to unused chemical testing buildings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain. 
  • $56.608 million for the FDA Headquarters Consolidation at White Oak, and language ensuring that GSA considers the importance of proximity to staff productivity when seeking a new lease for additional FDA office space, in order to keep any new space close to the existing White Oak Campus.
  • $100 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, which supports investments in communities that support our military installations.

To support Maryland’s transportation and infrastructure needs, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure:

  • $150 million for WMATA. This is a continuation of level funding authorized in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA).
  • $1.889 billion for DOT’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, with funding for the federal share of Maryland’s Purple Line.
  • $1 billion for the BUILD Grant Program, of which $15 million is for planning grants. Entities in Maryland have been very successful in this program.
  • $10 million for FAA’s Aviation Workforce Development Programs. This funding will be used for both the aircraft pilot workforce and aviation maintenance workforce.
  • Continued funding for the top dredging priorities in the State, including:
    • Baltimore Harbor and Channels -  $20.085 million
    • Poplar Island Construction - $14.5 million
    • Ocean City Harbor and Inlet and Sinepuxent Bay - $515,000

To protect and preserve Maryland’s environment and resources, Senator Van Hollen worked to:

  • Reject the deep cuts in President Trump’s budget to the Chesapeake Bay Program, continuing funding for it at the historic $85 million level. Senator Van Hollen continues to push for another funding increase in a final omnibus.
  • Secure $735,000 for the Upper Potomac Shale Barrens project, which will protect 240 acres of forest in Allegany County, enhancing outdoor recreation, supporting the forest product industry, protecting sites along the C&O Canal, and protecting sensitive ecosystems. Funding for this project was made possible by the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.
  • Provide $57.4 million for NOAA Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.
  • Invest an additional $300,000 in the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, located in Annapolis, bringing funding to $5.8 million.
  • Support continued funding for the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office located in Annapolis.
  • Protect the Bay Watershed Education and Training Grant from cuts in the Trump Budget.
  • Reject the President’s cuts to critical programs to protect clean water, including the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, Pollution Control Grants, and Nonpoint Source Grants. These programs are used in Maryland to address pollutants and help meet Bay restoration goals.
  • Require the C&O Canal National Historical Park Commission to begin meeting again, following the halt in meetings soon after President Trump came into office. The Commission, which Senator Van Hollen worked to reauthorize when he served in the House, gives communities neighboring the Park a say in Park operations.
  • Encourage continued work on the study evaluating the national significance of the area in West Baltimore that includes the school attended by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
  • Secure $5 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Program, which is critical to the economic and environmental survival of the Chesapeake Bay and is a high priority for the State of Maryland, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay Program. 
  • Secure $4.91 million for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, this funding protects the health of the Baltimore Oriole.
  • Secure $1.75 million for the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation) to help protect wetlands in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and other Eastern Shore communities from invasive nutria.

To support Maryland’s small and rural communities, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure: 

  • $180 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission, an increase of $5 million over FY20. ARC programming provides project funding for the western Maryland counties of Allegany, Garrett, and Washington. This funding will provide much-needed relief to Central Appalachia, including expanding broadband access, infrastructure and workforce development. ARC funding has also been used for grants to local schools, including investment in STEM education. ARC funding increases economic competitiveness and overall quality of life in Western Maryland. 
  • $100 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System so that states can finally complete their portions of the system. These funds could help Maryland and Pennsylvania finally complete the U.S. 219 project.
  • $172.8 million for the FAA’s Contract Tower Program, which provides air traffic control services to smaller airports across the country. Maryland has 5 contract towers (Easton, Frederick, Hagerstown, Martin State, and Salisbury-Wicomico).

To protect public safety and support a more equitable criminal justice system, Senator Van Hollen fought for:

  • Language reiterating the benefits of consent decrees to ensure police department reform, and encouraging the Department of Justice to provide additional training and technical assistance to support jurisdictions, like Baltimore, that are subjects of consent decrees.
  • More than double the funding for Community Based Violence Prevention, to $17.5 million. The bill also includes language directing the program to focus on areas like Baltimore that are disproportionately impacted by violent crime, including high rates of illegal firearms arrests and homicides. Projects must also use community-based strategies, including conflict mediation, street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention programs.
  • $446 million for the Legal Services Corporation, a $6 million increase.
  • $30 million for Victims of Child Abuse Programs, a $3 million increase.
  • $85 million, a $6.7 million increase, for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  • $710 million for the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. In 2020, Maryland received over $30 million in funding for first responders through these programs.

To support programs for Maryland’s most vulnerable, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure:

  • $10 million in funding for HUD’s Aging in Place Home Modification Grants and an acknowledgment of the work that Johns Hopkins University is doing in this area.
  • $360 million in funding for HUD’s Lead-Based Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Lead Hazard Reduction Program, a $70 million increase over FY20, with $50 million for the Healthy Homes Program.

To improve education for Maryland’s children, Senator Van Hollen fought to:

  • Increase funding for Title I Grants for K-12 education by $125 million and special education by $74 million. Senator Van Hollen continues to push for a dramatic increase in Title I and IDEA funding through his Keep Our PACT Act.
  • Protect the Full Service Community Schools Act from elimination in the Trump Budget. Senator Van Hollen is fighting to make community schools a central strategy for school improvement through the Full Service Community Schools Expansion Act.

To support health care for Marylanders, Senator Van Hollen fought for: 

  • Full funding for the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, a bill Senator Van Hollen fought to pass to improve childhood cancer research and survivorship.
  • $15 million for the Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network.
  • $11 billion for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

To support Maryland’s farmers and watermen, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure:

  • $736.921 million for Conservation Technical Assistance, in which Natural Resources Conservation Service staff work one-on-one with farmers to help them conserve resources. The bill also includes language expressing the Committee’s view that additional Conservation Technical Assistance is warranted in Critical Conservation Areas like the Chesapeake Bay Watershed because a lack of planning capacity can slow down projects in our region.
  • $10 million, a $2 million increase, for the Food Safety Outreach Program, which helps small and mid-sized family farms adapt to updated food safety rules.
  • $18.548 million for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which helps low-income mothers and children purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers.
  • $17.75 million, a $2.5 million increase, for the National Marine Fisheries Service Aquaculture Program and $13.5 million, a $500,000 increase, for NOAA’s Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program. 

To support Maryland’s HBCU’s, Senator Van Hollen fought for: 

  • $331 million for the Strengthening HBCUs Program at the Department of Education, along with $10.15 million for the Strengthening HBCU Master’s Program.
  • $51 million for HBCUs in Department of Defense research dollars, which is $20 million above the President’s budget request.
  • $20 million, a $2 million increase, for the National Science Foundation’s HBCU Excellence in Research Initiative. In 2018 and 2019, Morgan State won over $2 million from this program to conduct advanced research.
  • $10.25 million, a $250,000 increase, for Historic Preservation Grants to HBCUs to help maintain aging facilities and protect historic sites.
  • Funding for programs at 1890s Institutions like the University of Maryland Eastern Shore:
    • Research: $67 million
    • Extension Services: $57 million
    • Education Grants: $23.009 million
    • Facility Improvements: $20.5 million
    • Scholarships: $5 million 

To support local communities from the negative impacts of climate change, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure:

  • Additional funding through the Army Corps of Engineers for Flood Control Projects and Planning Assistance to States and an acknowledgment of the work being done with these funds in Laurel, Maryland to improve flood resiliency along the Patuxent River. Funding from this program can assist the Corps with their efforts to provide flood protection assistance to local communities.

To support Maryland’s science agencies and industry, Senator Van Hollen fought for: 

  • $430 million for ARPA-E, an increase of $5 million over FY20. Trump zeroed out this program. Maryland has benefited from more than 20 ARPA-E grants totaling at least $47 million, according to ARPA-E’s database of active and alumni projects. Through one such grant of almost $4.7 million, UMD scientists worked to develop a solid-state battery that could be cost-competitive with current lithium ion batteries and surpass them on capacity and safety. The project resulted in at least six invention disclosures to the agency. Johns Hopkins University has also obtained significant ARPA-E funding, including for efforts to decompose natural gas into solid carbon and hydrogen without input water.
  • $20 million for the SuperTruck III Program within the Advanced Vehicle Technologies at DOE.