August 11, 2023

Van Hollen, Cardin Announce Key Committee Passage of Nearly $3 Million for Local Infrastructure Resilience Projects

Legislation also includes funding for critical programs that support Maryland’s emergency preparedness, Curtis Bay’s Coast Guard Yard, and efforts to combat fentanyl

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (both D-Md.) announced the inclusion of $2,963,500 in key Senate Committee legislation providing direct federal funding for two community-led infrastructure resilience projects in Frederick County and Cheverly, Maryland. These community projects, funded at the Senators’ request, are within the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security’s proposed funding legislation for fiscal year 2024. In addition to these two projects, the legislation includes funding for critical programs that support Maryland’s emergency preparedness and our efforts to combat the illegal trafficking of fentanyl as well as language recognizing the unique importance of the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland.
This subcommittee legislation was released as part of the annual Congressional Appropriations process and passed on a bipartisan basis by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will proceed to consideration before the full Senate – funding is not finalized until the Appropriations bills are passed by the Senate, reconciled with the House of Representatives, and signed by the President.
“In Congress, one of our top priorities is securing federal investments to support our communities. That’s why working together with Team Maryland we fought for these funds which will help keep Marylanders safe. This federal funding makes a real impact, and we’re committed to getting these investments over the finish line,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Congress has a responsibility to keep Americans safe and enhance our resilience against future disaster, whether natural or human caused,” said Senator Cardin. “This bill makes substantial federal investments across Maryland to improve infrastructure, strengthen our emergency preparedness, protect us against dangerous narcotics and pathogens, and meet our moral commitments to welcome refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries. Team Maryland continues to work together in an unprecedented way to move forward community-based funding requests that directly support local needs and priorities.”

The Senators secured funding for the following projects in the Senate Appropriations FY2024 Homeland Security funding legislation. 
Project Name: Frederick County Microgrid Project
Applicant: Frederick County
Project Location: Frederick County
Amount Included: $1,275,000
Description: Funds will be used to install a solar-charged microgrid to ensure uninterruptible power supplies for Frederick County's Emergency Operations Center, 9-1-1 Center, Interagency Information Technology Data Center, and several critical County services that protect residents.
Project Name: Town of Cheverly Flood Mitigation Project
Applicant: Town of Cheverly
Project Location: Prince George's County
Amount Included: $1,688,500
Description: Cheverly experiences regular flooding and experienced a major flood in 2020. Funds will replace and enlarge sections of the storm drain system, install a new storm drain system in the Town's alley, and develop a flood mitigation plan to prevent future damage to homes and businesses.
Additional highlights from the FY24 Homeland Security funding bill include:
Support for Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay: The bill includes recognition of the unique importance of the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay and urges the Administration to include funding for the Coast Guard Yard Shoreside Infrastructure and Facilities and Coast Guard Resilient Infrastructure and Construction in its fiscal year 2025 budget. The lawmakers fought for this language to be included to prioritize the funding needed to meet the infrastructure needs of the Yard. The recently-enacted FY ’23 National Defense Authorization Act contained language proposed in the Service to the Fleet Act by Senators Van Hollen and Cardin to authorize $636 million for the modernization of the Coast Guard Yard’s facilities and necessary upgrades for its WW-II era infrastructure in order to support the next generation of Coast Guard vessels.

National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) and Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC): The bill includes funding for laboratory facilities, operations, and infrastructure improvements for NBACC and CSAC. NBACC, based at Ft. Detrick, is one of the few biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) labs in the country dedicated to conducting experiments and studies to better understand biological vulnerabilities and hazards (such as COVID-19), in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies and partners. CSAC, based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, provides a crucial knowledge repository of chemical threat information, design and execution of laboratory and field tests, and a science-based threat and risk analysis capability for federal, state, and local governments and first responders.

Emergency Management Institute (EMI): The bill provides $31.9 million for the EMI, which is part of the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) based in Emmitsburg, Maryland. EMI helps U.S. officials in Emergency Management at all levels of government to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of all types of disasters and emergencies, including how to respond to ongoing and future infectious disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19.

Stopping the Flow of Fentanyl: The bill provides $719 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—$649 million more than fiscal year 2023—to improve the detection and seizure of fentanyl and other narcotics at ports of entry with investments in non-intrusive inspection equipment, forward operating labs, personnel, and new capabilities to rapidly detect narcotics and other hazardous materials.
Disrupting and Dismantling Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs): The bill also takes the fight against fentanyl and other narcotics to the source by providing over $100 million—$95 million more than fiscal year 2023—for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to conduct its work abroad, stopping fentanyl and other dangerous synthetic narcotics from ever reaching the United States border in the first place.
Supporting U.S. Businesses and Growing the Economy: The bill provides $143 million to address the work authorization (also known as EADs) backlog, which is evenly split between efforts aimed at reducing the current EAD backlog and efforts to ensure that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can meet all existing adjudication timelines for incoming EAD requests moving forward. 
Supporting the Refugee Resettlement Program: The bill provides $133 million for refugee resettlement—sustaining vital funding to help meet the refugee admissions goal of 125,000 for fiscal year 2024 and continue America’s long tradition of welcoming people from across the globe seeking safety from persecution and opportunities for a better life.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA): The bill provides $20.261 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund in fiscal year 2024. It also provides $3.5 billion for grants and training to state, local, Tribal, and territorial entities to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from both manmade and natural threats, including hurricanes, terrorist attacks, wildfires, and more. 
United States Coast Guard (USCG): The bill includes $11.5 billion to support the Coast Guard’s mission, including search and rescue activities, drug interdiction, marine safety and environmental protection, and fisheries enforcement.
Supporting Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pay Equity: The bill includes $1.1 billion to align TSA workforce pay with the rest of the federal workforce, retain staff, and reduce wait times for passengers as part of an effort that was initially funded in fiscal year 2023 and implemented in July 2023.