Durbin: Appropriations Bills Provide Critical Funding For Illinois
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced Illinois priorities included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding bills for Interior and Environment; State and Foreign Operations; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Homeland Security; and the Legislative Branch. The bills passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today and will now be sent to the Senate floor for final consideration.
“I am proud to secure federal funding for Illinois in the bills that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today,” said Durbin. “Today’s bills invest in Illinois’ future, and fund critical functions and programs within our government. I hope the full Senate considers these bills quickly.”
Today’s bills included the following priorities for Illinois:
Interior and Environment
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), Great Lakes Region: $301 million in funding for the GLRI to support the inter-agency program to address issues affecting the Great Lakes, including invasive species and pollution. Since 2010 GLRI has invested more than $226 million in Illinois to implement 170 projects including the removal of toxic chemicals from Waukegan Harbor, green infrastructure projects like the Millennium Reserve near the Calumet River, and the restoration of 40 acres of land at Northerly Island.
- Land and Water Conservation Fund: The bill includes $465 million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps protect federal lands and waters.
- Bubbly Creek: The bill includes Durbin’s language urging EPA, Army Corps, and DOJ to expedite a resolution to negotiations over liability concerns that have prohibited the Army Corps of Engineers environmental restoration program on the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River.
- Ethylene Oxide and the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS): The bill includes language addressing concerns about ethylene oxide emissions and urges the EPA to brief the committee about its plans to update federal standards. The bill also includes language to continue to maintain the IRIS program and its mission to identify harmful chemicals with the highest scientific rigor.
- Manganese: The bill includes Durbin’s language about manganese soil contamination in Chicago and encourages EPA to clean up all affected areas to the lowest possible limits for residential screening and monitoring.
Commerce, Justice, and Science
- Bureau of Prisons: The bill includes $7.76 billion to fund Bureau of Prisons staff, inmate care, and building construction and maintenance costs. This amount ensures full funding of FY20 operations of USP Thomson, a high-security federal prison in Thomson, IL. $75 million of the funding is specifically dedicated to the implementation of the First Step Act, at Durbin’s request. Durbin was one of the lead authors of the First Step Act, a landmark, bipartisan law that uses evidence-based recidivism reduction programs to help inmates successfully return to society after serving their sentence; it also reduces some sentences for certain low-level, nonviolent offenders while preserving important law enforcement tools to tackle criminal enterprises.
- Domestic Terrorism: The bill includes Durbin’s request for language addressing the significant threat posed by violent domestic terrorists and extremists. It directs the FBI and DOJ to vigorously investigate and prosecute incidents of domestic terrorism; review training and resource programs to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in understanding, detecting, deterring, investigating, and prosecuting acts of domestic terrorism; and provide a detailed report to Congress on incidents of domestic terrorism that occurred in FY19.
- Children Exposed to Violence Initiative: The bill includes $8 million to provide funding for grants to develop innovative training, resources, and awareness efforts, and to support communities in developing strategic plans to address children’s exposure to violence as victims and as witnesses and to provide trauma-informed services. Durbin successfully worked to restore funding for this important program in FY19.
- National Science Foundation: The bill includes $8.32 billion to fund basic science research and promote innovation, ensure America’s competitiveness with the global economy, and help train the future scientific and technical workforce.
- NASA Science: The bill includes $6.91 billion to fund the innovative work of more than 10,000 scientists at universities, industry, and government laboratories in Illinois and across the United States through competitive research grants and mission-critical technology and development.
- NASA Education: The bill includes $10 million to fund the innovative work of more than 10,000 scientists at universities, industry, and government laboratories in Illinois and across the United States through competitive research grants and mission-critical technology development & support.
- NOAA: The bill includes $76.5 million for Coastal Zone Management Grants and $45 million for Coastal Zone Management and Services to support regional efforts to restore and protect coastal communities in the Great Lakes Region. The bill also includes $4.15 million for the Regional Climate Centers to develop products and services for climate-related issues affecting sectors such as agriculture, transportation, energy generation, and water resources.
- NIST Scientific and Technical Research and Services: The bill includes $754 million to support basic scientific research that increases the U.S. industrial and technological competitiveness, including advanced computing and manufacturing innovations.
- Urban Flooding Pilot Program: The bill includes Durbin’s request for a $1.2 million pilot program to provide grants within eligible urban areas (more than 50,000 people) to improve flood mapping and urban flood mitigation.
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: The bill includes Durbin’s language directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to evaluate its process for assisting states experiencing technical difficulties when applying to the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM). The State of Illinois was one of several states that experienced technical difficulties when applying to the Fiscal Year 2018 PDM Program, and was ultimately deemed ineligible for these grants.
- AFG & SAFER Grant Programs: $710 million in nationwide funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program. The AFG Program seeks to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards. The SAFER program seeks to enhance a department’s ability to maintain 24-hour staffing and ensures that the community has adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
- Better Protecting Firefighters from Cancer Risks: The bill includes Durbin’s language directing FEMA to collaborate with fire departments to find cost-effective procedures to reduce firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens.
- Federal Disaster Declarations: The bill includes Durbin’s language directing FEMA to communicate with greater transparency how it determines federal disaster declarations. Due to FEMA’s disaster declaration process, large states like Illinois face difficulties qualifying for federal aid to repair damage caused by natural disasters.
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA): The bill includes funding for an additional 1,090 front-line screening personnel.
- Teaching with Primary Sources: The bill includes $9.11 million for this teacher training initiative of the Library of Congress. This program, authorized by Durbin in 2005, instructs educators in ways to incorporate the Library’s digital collections into school curricula. Since its authorization, this program has benefitted countless educators and students throughout Illinois.
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