December 23, 2020

Van Hollen Secures Key Maryland Funding Priorities in Omnibus Package

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement regarding provisions to benefit Maryland within the bipartisan coronavirus relief and omnibus package passed by the House and Senate that awaits President Trump’s signature. The legislation includes all 12 Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) spending bills and roughly $900 billion in additional COVID-19 relief. Through his role on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Van Hollen successfully secured a number of state priorities that will greatly benefit the state of Maryland.

“After a very difficult year for so many Americans, I’m glad that lawmakers could come together to fund our government and invest in key priorities across our state, while providing the necessary support to workers, families, small businesses, and our efforts to fight the pandemic and current economic crisis. This package – while not perfect – will provide urgent relief to those who need it most and prevents a shameful government shutdown. I am proud to have fought for a number of provisions within this bill that will directly benefit Marylanders – including funds to support our schools, invest in health care services and biomedical research, back key federal facilities and installations in Maryland, modernize our infrastructure and transportation networks, and boost research and preservation efforts for the Chesapeake Bay. I urge the President to sign this bipartisan bill into law immediately.”  

Maryland Priorities: 

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 $1.25 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health totaling in $42.9 billion.
  • $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), Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean & Ecosystem mission (PACE), and OSAM-1 (formerly known as Restore-L). 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.
  • $45.914 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.
  • $60 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, which supports investments in communities that support our military installations.
  • $20 million for the U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence Innovation Institute (A2I2) at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

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).
  • $2.014 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.
  • $5 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 a new historic level of $87.5 million. 
  • 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 $57.6 million for NOAA Habitat Conservation and Restoration which includes $1.75 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Program. This funding 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.
  • Provides $5.8 million for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, located in Annapolis. This total includes an additional $250,000 designated for oyster restoration.
  • 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 $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.
  • Includes language directing the Federal Highway Administration to continue working with the ARC and relevant state DOTs to identify segments of existing, unfinished, and potential corridors and to discuss the justification for expanding the current ADHS mileage cap.
  • $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.
  • Increasing the funding for Community Based Violence Prevention by $6 million, to $14 million total. The bill also includes language directing the program to focus on communities including 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.
  • $465 million for the Legal Services Corporation, a $25 million increase over FY20, to ensure low-income Marylanders have access to legal representation.
  • $30 million for Victims of Child Abuse Programs, a $3 million increase over FY20.
  • $85 million, a $6.7 million increase over FY20, for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to meet the surge in purchases Maryland and many states have faced.
  • $720 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.
  • $180 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to protect organizations like churches and synagogues that are at high-risk of terrorist attacks. In FY 2020, organizations in the Baltimore region received over $1.9 million in funding through this program.

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 $227 million and special education by $173 million. Senator Van Hollen continues to push for a dramatic increase in Title I and to fully fund IDEA through his Keep Our PACT Act.
  • Increase funding for the Full Service Community Schools program by $5 million 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.
  • $10 million to establish a Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network.
  • $8 million for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.
  • $1 million for the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative.
  • $34.2 million for programs addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence, including $1.5 million for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.
  • $115 million for the Department of Defense’s Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program, as well as the continued inclusion of brain cancer and pediatric brain tumors as eligible categories for funding. 

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

  • $734.255 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.
  • $21 million for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which helps low-income mothers and children purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers.
  • $17.5 million, a $2.25 million increase, for the National Marine Fisheries Service Aquaculture Program and $13 million for NOAA’s Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program.

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

  • $337 million for the Strengthening HBCUs Program at the Department of Education, along with $10.956 million for the Strengthening HBCU Master’s Program.
  • $81.3 million for HBCUs in Department of Defense research dollars, which is $50.3 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 million 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: $73 million
    • Extension Services: $62 million
    • Education Grants: $26 million
    • Facility Improvements: $21.5 million
    • Scholarships: $10 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:

  • $427 million for ARPA-E, an increase of $2 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. 

To Secure More Affordable Rental Housing:

The bill provides nearly $48 billion to preserve the nation’s affordable housing for low-income HUD-assisted households currently served through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, and Project-based Rental Assistance programs, and other assisted rental housing programs. This level of funding is an increase of more than $3.5 billion from fiscal year 2020 and an increase of more than $8.5 billion from the President’s budget request. The bill rejects the President’s proposed rent reforms and mandatory work requirements that would force already vulnerable families to choose between maintaining childcare or paying for medical expenses and homelessness. The bill also rejects the President’s proposal to eliminate funding for Public Housing Capital Formula Grants, the sole federal resource for the repair and maintenance of the nation’s public housing stock. Specifically, the bill includes:

  • $25.8 billion for the Tenant-based Rental Assistance account to preserve affordable housing for 2.2 million low-income households, as well as expands housing opportunities for youth aging out of foster care, victims of domestic violence, and veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness;
  • $7.8 billion to help preserve the nation’s public housing for 1 million low-income households currently served through the program;
  • $13.5 billion for the preservation of Project-based Section 8 assistance for more than 1.2 million low-income households;
  • $855 million for the Housing for the Elderly program to continue rental assistance for over 130,000 low-income elderly households and renew grants for 1,600 service coordinators, and includes $52 million for new grants to modify or repair homes; and
  • $227 million for the Housing for Persons with Disabilities program to renew assistance for more than 30,000 households served through the program, and includes $54 million for new grants to modify or repair homes.

To support Minority Owned Businesses:

  • $48 million for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), $6 million above FY20 and direction to continue the business centers (MBDCs). The MBDCs operate on cooperative agreements issued by the MBDA. These agreements are set to expire in March and the Trump Administration had not started the process for renewing these agreements. The language in the omnibus not only increases the amount appropriated to this important program but it also ensures continuity of these programs. 
    • Maryland has two MBDCs, the Baltimore MBDA Business Center and the Washington MBDA Business Center located in Silver Spring.