As Earmarks Return, Reed Delivers $64.7M for Agriculture, Energy and Water, & MilCon-VA Projects Across RI
WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to advance a trio of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 spending bills and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the committee successfully advocated to include ‘Congressionally directed spending’ (also known as ‘earmarks’) in the appropriations bills to fund numerous projects across Rhode Island.
On a bipartisan vote of 25-5 the panel approved three key bills: the Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Ag) appropriations bill; the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Development (Energy & Water) appropriations bill; and the Fiscal Year 2022 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) appropriations bill.
Senator Reed stated: “My priority is ensuring the government works effectively, is accountable to the people, and that Rhode Island gets its fair share of federal resources. I am pleased we were able to advance these critical spending bills out of committee and move the appropriations process forward. The federal funding in these bills will help feed the hungry, improve water quality, and support our troops, veterans, and their families.”
Senator Reed highlighted several key areas of the spending bills that will benefit Rhode Island, including:
Agriculture, Rural Development, & Food and Drug Administration (FDA): $25.85 billion
- $7.03 billion for payments to producers who have suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other qualifying natural disasters that occurred in 2020 and 2021.
- $6.27 billion for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to help improve the health and nutritional intake of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women as well as infants and children up to their fifth birthday. The bill also provides required mandatory spending, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee, for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- $3.6 billion for the Agricultural Research Service.
- $3.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help promote and protect public health by overseeing the safety, efficacy, quality and security of food, human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, and cosmetics.
- $1.18 billion for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to support their local field service system.
- $1.12 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
- $937 million to help protect open spaces and farm land.
The Ag bill also includes $9.4 million in earmarks Senator Reed secured for Rhode Island, including $5 million for Cranston and Johnston to help with Pocasset River flood damage reduction; $2 million for the Warren Fire and EMS Center; $1.5 million for East Coast Shellfish Research conducted at the University of Rhode Island; $290,000 for the Scituate Rhode Island Land Trust to help with reforestation and revitalization of Esek Hopkins Park; $150,000 for Richmond police station renovations; and $2 million for the Central Falls Ralph Holden Community Center project through an earmark requested jointly with Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline.
Energy and Water Development: $53.6 billion
- $45.3 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy
- $8.9 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including funding for operation and maintenance of water resources projects.
- $7.7 billion for environmental cleanup and management activities.
- $7.49 billion for the Office of Science, $464 million above the FY21 enacted level.
- $500 million for Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), $73 million above the FY21 enacted level, to continue to support innovative, advanced research and development projects.
- $3.89 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) division, a $1.03 billion increase from fiscal 2021 levels. This includes $375 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), an increase of $65 million from FY21, and $70 million for the State Energy Program. Senators Reed and Susan Collins (R-ME) led the bipartisan effort to increase investment in these programs.
- $25 million for DOE EPSCoR, which is critically important to supporting research at universities in Rhode Island.
The Energy and Water spending bill also includes over $49 million in earmarks that Senator Reed requested, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects such as Fox Point Barrier, Narragansett Bay; Woonsocket Local Protection Project; URI Narragansett Erosion Protection; Rose Larisa Park; Watch Hill Lighthouse; Providence River and Harbor; Little Narragansett Bay; Block Island Harbor of Refuge; and Great Salt Pond, Block Island. Additionally, Senator Reed included $5 million for energy improvements for Rhode Island schools and $2.9 million for a joint earmark with Senator Whitehouse for the Narragansett Bay Commission’s project on Enhanced Biogas Collection and Energy Recovery.
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA): $124.36 billion
Senator Reed is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.
- $112.9 billion in discretionary funds for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an increase of $8.5 billion over the FY21 enacted level, to address rapidly increasing costs of health care and IT support. These resources will provide the health care, benefits, and support earned by U.S. service members, veterans, and their families.
- $11 billion for Department of Defense military construction projects. This amount funds 176 major construction projects at military bases and installations around the world to enhance resiliency and support warfighter readiness. Within this amount, the bill provides $1.4 billion to improve and maintain housing for servicemembers and their families.
Senator Reed successfully directed four MilCon-VA earmarks to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Naval Station Newport worth a total of $8.3 million in planning and design funding. This includes $4 million for the Next Generation Secure Submarine Platform Facility; $1.7 million for the Consolidated RDT&E Systems Facility; $1.4 million for the Submarine Payloads Integration Laboratory; and $1.2 million for the Next Generation Torpedo Integration Lab.
Now that these three appropriations bills have been approved at the committee level, they must pass the full U.S. Senate and be reconciled with versions making their way through the U.S. House of Representatives. After identical appropriations bills are approved by both the House and the Senate, they may be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.