February 14, 2019

Van Hollen Statement on Government Funding Agreement

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced his support for the bipartisan government funding agreement. The plan contains multiple priorities the Senator has fought for – including a 1.9 percent cost of living adjustment for federal employees, retroactive to January 1, 2019. Throughout the partial government shutdown and its aftermath, Senator Van Hollen has worked to ensure federal workers are held harmless, including through the introduction and passage of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, legislation that guaranteed back pay to federal employees. The Senator also successfully secured several provisions to benefit Maryland projects and agencies through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Van Hollen said, “The Trump Shutdown – the longest in history – was a political temper tantrum that wreaked havoc on our country. Today, with this compromise, we prevent that from happening again. But this bipartisan compromise represents more than that – it is a serious investment in critical parts of our country.

“It provides funding to keep our nation secure, improve our infrastructure, safeguard our environment, and bolster our justice programs. It includes major wins for Maryland – from protecting the Chesapeake Bay, to continuing vital programs at NASA Goddard, to maintaining the $150 million federal commitment to WMATA – and keeping alive the possibility that the FBI headquarters will come to Maryland. Finally, it says to our federal employees – including the over 800,000 who were forced to work without pay or furloughed completely for more than a month – that we respect their work. This legislation rejects the Trump pay freeze and instead gives civil servants a modest cost of living increase in their paycheck. And while I’m disappointed that it doesn’t include back pay for our federal contract workers, I’m going to keep fighting to make them whole.

“American families want bipartisan solutions to the issues our nation faces – and while it’s not perfect, this spending agreement represents major progress. Congress should pass it without delay, and the President should sign it into law and put this shameful episode behind us.”

Senator Van Hollen successfully fought for and secured provisions in the following areas:

Environment and Agriculture:

  • To provide $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program
  • To allow for continued offshore wind development, removing harmful provisions to prevent the growth of this renewable energy source
  • To maintain the Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) in Annapolis, where it is currently located -- this office is crucial to efforts to maintain and restore the Bay’s health, and it houses 30 full-time CBPO staff in addition to over 75 staff members from other federal agencies
  • To provide $5 million to support oyster research and to encourage the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to dedicate resources for further research in oyster genetics, disease, and economic modeling – NMFS is also encouraged to support regional partnerships to classify and preserve natural genetic variation in oysters
  • To provide $68 million for the NOAA Sea Grant College Program – a $3 million increase from Fiscal Year 2018 – which provides important returns to coastal communities across the country – the National Sea Grant College Program is a critical source of funding for Maryland’s Sea Grant College at the University of Maryland, College Park – Maryland Sea Grant projects have produced significant results that aided fishers, businesses, policy makers, and conservation volunteers in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region – specifically, Sea Grant Extension agents have helped develop oyster aquaculture businesses and a new certification program for professional landscapers to install effective stormwater control measures with native plants – they have also started five Watershed Stewards Academies, engaging the public and partners in Chesapeake Bay clean-up and have participated in teacher training to bring aquaculture education to our students and improve STEM education in biology, chemistry, and physics
  • To encourage the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to designate Community College Centers of Excellence in Agribusiness Workforce Training, to include a limited number of 2-year community and technical colleges with a demonstrated capability to provide training and education for Agribusiness, which Maryland community colleges could compete for

Infrastructure and Local Projects

  • To provide $150 million for WMATA
  • To provide $900 million for BUILD (formerly known as TIGER grants) “National Infrastructure Investments” – recent projects in Maryland that have been awarded these grants include $20 million for the Cecil County I-95/Belvidere Road Interchange Project, $6.5 million for the MDOT Maryland Port Administration Seagirt Marine Terminal Expansion, and $20 million for the Tradepoint Atlantic project in Baltimore County
  • To provide $350 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grants
  • To provide $350 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants
  • To urge the Coast Guard to expedite planning for facility and equipment upgrades necessary for service extensions of the Fast Response Cutter (FRC) and other vessels at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay in Baltimore, Maryland
  • To direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to consider community concerns and conduct research on the health effects of aviation noise – Senator Van Hollen has worked since 2015 to address the NextGen flight path noise issues at both Baltimore-Washington International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airports
  • To encourage the research, demonstration, and deployment of permeable pavements in areas like Ellicott City in order to address stormwater runoff

Department of Justice:

  • To encourage additional training and technical assistance for jurisdictions, like Baltimore, with consent decrees
  • To provide significant funding for Department of Justice programs that address criminal justice needs, including $303.5 million for COPS grants, $423.5 million for Byrne-JAG grants, $215 million for Stop grants, and $497.5 million to enforce the Violence Against Women Act


  • To encourage the General Services Administration to submit a report to Congress on its new plan for a fully consolidated FBI Headquarters campus that includes consideration of one of the previously approved sites (two of which were located in Maryland)


  • To provide $10 million in funding to the 21st Century Launch Program at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility
  • To provide $10 million in funding for the NASA Carbon Monitoring program, in which University of Maryland College Park and Goddard Space Flight Center have played an integral role
  • To provide $7.5 million for NOAA B-WET grants, a program that educates children in an interactive, hands-on way – Senator Van Hollen and the Maryland federal delegation announced the National Aquarium’s participation in this program last year
  • To provide $2.15 billion for NASA’s Space Launch System and $1.35 billion for the Orion Spacecraft program
  • To provide $161 million for NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud & Ocean Ecosystem (PACE) program and $1.7 million for NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) program, which are crucial to advancing climate science through research at NASA Goddard, University of Maryland College Park and UMBC