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Pascrell Supports Spending Deal for the American People, Votes Against Border Wall Funding

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) released the following statement regarding the House’s vote to approve the minibus spending bills H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865, which is Pascrell’s own bill:

“Today the House considered two spending bills to fund our government for the next fiscal year. Both bills contained several of our shared priorities and wins for New Jersey and the American people, including increased funding for the National Institutes of Health and new funding for our Alternative to Opioids program. My Republican colleagues, however, decided to use one of these bills as a vehicle for needless border wall funding. While it may have passed our chamber, I could not in good conscience support that legislation and help legitimize Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

“Make no mistake about it: many of our priorities were included in this overall spending deal. We were able to successfully increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat gun violence and security grants for religious institutions, and provide federal support for first responders, medical research, and low-income Americans in search of work. So the passage of today’s budget is a win for New Jersey families.

“But I would be remiss if I did not mention the reckless priorities of my Republican colleagues. Leveraging federal support for our police and firefighters with funding for Trump’s vanity project on the Southern border is a betrayal of our first responders and their service to our communities.”

Select Highlights of H.R. 1865:

·             Rep. Pascrell’s bill, the National Law Enforcement Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865) is the vehicle moving much of the domestic agenda as well as health and tax proposals. Rep. Pascrell’s legislation directs the U.S. Treasury Department to mint and issue up to 1.2 million gold, silver, and cooper clad coins celebrating the National Law Enforcement Museum located in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative coins will provide a needed future stream of private funding for the Museum to ensure that it is able to maintain a robust and diverse level of programming.


·             $41.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This represents an increase of $2.6 billion over FY19 to support research to improve the prevention, treatment, and cures to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, all kinds of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as chronic diseases and emerging infectious epidemics.


·         $8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This represents an increase of $636 million over FY19, including: 


      • $6.75 million for the Traumatic Brain Injury within the Unintentional Injury Division, with language included on the National Concussion Surveillance System. As co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Rep. Pascrell has led efforts in Congress to increase funding for programs like this.


      • $25 million in funding specifically for gun violence prevention research for the first time in decades.



·             $2.4 billion for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, an increase of $70 million over FY19. Rep. Pascrell has been one of Congress’s strongest supporters of Ryan White and all domestic HIV programs.  Over 37,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS in New Jersey, which ranks among the highest in the nation for overall cumulative HIV cases. Pascrell has consistently led the funding request for Ryan White and domestic HIV programs. While Mayor of Paterson, Pascrell served as chairman of the Paterson-Passaic-Bergen HIV Planning Council during the early years of the Ryan White Program.

·             $5 million for the Emergency Department Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) program, which Rep. Pascrell championed into law based on work happening at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson . This is the first year of ALTO’s authorization. 

·             Funds New Starts Transit Grants at almost $2 billion and Amtrak Northeast Corridor grants at $700 million, which could be beneficial to Gateway.

·             Amendments requested by Pascrell to prevent the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from advancing any proposal to lift the 100,000 pound weight limit at Teterboro Airport. Rep. Pascrell has led efforts in the House to protect size and weight restrictions at Teterboro Airport. The legislative language safeguards the region from the dangers and disruption caused by larger jets by prohibiting the FAA from overriding decision-making on air traffic by the states of New Jersey and New York.

·             Language authored by Rep. Pascrell to provide disaster tax relief for Hurricane Sandy victims which is the same language he championed in the Ways and Means Committee Tax Extender bill.

·             Includes the following extenders: 


o   Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries Act, which Rep. Pascrell has championed. 


o   Reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for 10 years, which Rep. Pascrell has prioritized.


o   Extension of the Community Mental Health Services program, which was one of Rep. Pascrell’s priorities and is an existing demonstration in New Jersey through May 22, 2020.


o   Delay of the Disproportionate Share Hospitals reductions through May 22, 2020.


o   Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank for seven years.


o   Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2021. Rep. Pascrell has led efforts in Congress to reform the NFIP by increasing affordability and the overall sustainability of the program. In March, Rep. Pascrell testified before the House Committee on Financial Services in support of a long-term NFIP reauthorization that is affordable, helps policyholders prior to a storm, updates the claims process, and holds bad actors accountable. In July, Rep. Pascrell helped introduce legislation to extend the NFIP and institutes sweeping reforms to make it more consumer friendly by overhauling the claims process and by capping premiums at 9 percent.


o   3.1% pay increase for federal workers


o   Extension of funding for the Health Professions Opportunities Grants program through May 20, 2020. Rep. Pascrell has led legislation to support this program and those who rely upon it.


Select Highlights of H.R. 1158: 

·             Funds Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants at $355 million, $5 million over FY19, and Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) at $355 million, $5 million over FY19. Congress created these grant programs to help address the significant staffing, equipment, training, and health and safety needs of fire departments. The SAFER Grant program provides funding to cover the costs associated with hiring personnel to maintain safe staffing levels. The AFG program makes funds available for fire departments to purchase equipment, provide training, and meet other fire department needs. In 1999, Rep. Pascrell introduced the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, the first comprehensive legislation dedicated to meet the special needs of America’s volunteer, paid, and part-paid fire departments. Rep. Pascrell also originally sponsored the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) legislation, which became law in 2003.


·             Funds Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) at $343 million, $39.5 million over FY19, and funds Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) at $547 million, $124 million over FY19. The Byrne JAG program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their own local needs and conditions.  Grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice in a host of areas. Rep. Pascrell has led efforts to ensure Byrne JAG is adequately supported in the federal budget. Since its inception, the COPS Office has placed more than 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities across the country by providing grants for the hiring of officers. These grants provide federal resources to communities with public safety needs that may lack the funds to hire law enforcement officers. For years, Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in supporting the COPS program.


·             Funds Nonprofit Security Grants at $90 million. Rep. Pascrell helped secure this increased funding with a letter last week requesting $90 million for the program. The NSGP program was designed to provide physical target hardening measures to protect against the threats the Department of Homeland Security has identified as of most concern to at-risk nonprofit institutions. Rep. Pascrell has long been an advocate for the Homeland Security Preparedness Grant programs, specifically the NSPG.


·             Funds the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program at $27.5M. Rep. Pascrell sponsored legislation signed into law to permanently authorize this program at $30M annually. He also led an amendment in the House to fully fund this program for FY20.

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