March 23, 2018

Manchin Secures Significant Funding for West Virginia in Spending Bill

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured funding priorities for West Virginia in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill that includes significant funding for opioids, broadband infrastructure and our military.

“Bipartisanship isn’t always easy but I’m pleased that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill provides West Virginia with important funding to fight the opioid epidemic, invest in high-speed internet and broadband access throughout our state and to make sure our military has the resources they need to keep our country safe.

“This bill includes an additional $3.3 billion in funding to fight the opioid epidemic and improve mental healthcare, including a significant set aside which I fought for to ensure the hardest hit states like West Virginia get the most support. This is great news, and in the coming weeks I will be working to make sure that West Virginia receives as much funding as we can. West Virginia is the epicenter of this epidemic and should be considered priority number one.

“The omnibus also includes $10 billion to rebuild our infrastructure, $600 million to expand broadband and $2 billion to improve our VA hospitals and clinics. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I was proud to make sure that these important West Virginia priorities were included to make sure our state continues to move forward.

“This bill also includes Jessie's Law, which I have fought for for more than two years, since the tragic loss of Jessica Grubb. This will push HHS to develop standards for displaying information about a patient's past opioid addiction when the patient provides that information. This will help us prevent unnecessary opioid overdose deaths by ensuring that medical professionals have access to the information that they need to provide quality care.

“But make no mistake, this omnibus does not come without consequences. I remain very concerned about our country’s addiction to spending and our ever increasing debt, but I will not hold our military and funding for important priorities hostage. I have always said that our values should match our priorities, and I will continue to fight for a responsible budget that puts West Virginia first.”

In February 2017, Senator Manchin sent a letter to President Trump highlighting areas that need special attention including increased funding to fight the opioid epidemic, improving the economy and creating jobs, keeping our promise to seniors and veterans, prioritizing our national security and improving our infrastructure and energy independence. To read the full letter click here:

Read West Virginia Highlights in FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill below or click here for a full list.

Funding to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

  • The bill includes $3.3 billion in new funding to address the opioid crisis and improve access to mental health care. This includes $2.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve access to treatment, prevention and research for programs. $1 billion of this funding will go directly to the states through the State Opioid Response Grant program, which includes a 15% set aside for states with high mortality rates like West Virginia that Senator Manchin fought to ensure was included in the bill. The increased funding also includes:
    • A $500 million increase for targeted research on opioid addiction at agencies within the National Institutes of Health.
    • A $350 million increase at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for opioid overdose prevention, surveillance, and monitoring.
    • A $415 million to improve access to opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas nationwide through Community Health Centers and workforce training programs.
    • A $100 million increase within the Administration for Children and Families to address the needs of children who are affected by parental substance use.
    • An almost $300 million increase for Department of Justice (DOJ) anti-opioid grant funding.
    • A $94 million increase for the Food and Drug Administration to significantly increase its overall capacity at International Mail Facilities to inspect incoming packages suspected of containing illegal drugs and to increase criminal investigation resources.
    • A 10 percent increase from last year for the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, increasing to $280 million. The HIDTA program provides assistance to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies for areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the country.
    • $446.2 million (a three-fold increase from the $147 million provided last year) for anti-opioid grant funding from DOJ to help communities and local law enforcement fight opioid addiction and provide treatment and prevention services.
    • $75 million for Drug Courts for state and local law enforcement assistance.
    • $71 million for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detect and interdict opioids such as fentanyl.
    • Jessie's Law: The report includes instructions to HHS to establish hospital standards for patients, like Jessie, who provide information about their past opioid addiction to ensure that that information is flagged in a patient's medical records.
    • The bill also includes significant funding specifically for veterans suffering from addiction, including:
      • $329.95 million for the VA to spend on inpatient and outpatient treatment, methadone and other pharmacy-related costs related to opioid abuse.
      • $55.82 million to continue to implement opioid safety initiatives outlined as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
      • $48.78 million for the Justice Outreach and Prevention program.
      • It also incorporates comprehensive report language on opioids, including the Opioid Safety Initiative, Opioid Therapy Clinical Practice Guidelines and Training, and State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

Increasing Broadband Connectivity for Rural Areas

  • The omnibus includes $600 million for a new initiative in high-speed broadband development – a 10-fold increase in broadband investment over current funding levels – focused on expanding access to remote unserved and under-served rural areas. Under the pilot, broadband loans could increase from $27 million to $1.5 billion, while grants could increase from $34.5 million to more than $300 million.
  • The bill includes various broadband mapping provisions that Senator Manchin authored to help target federal support to the places that need it most, including:
    • The Rural Wireless Access Act which requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to standardize its collection of wireless coverage data and ensure it is collected in a consistent manner, and
    • Explicit requirements that the FCC report on the actions they will take to improve the collection of mobile broadband coverage data to address the limitations of the current data.

Improving our Infrastructure

  • The omnibus package delivers $10 billion in new infrastructure funding, including a number of Senator Manchin’s funding priorities:
    • An additional $1 billion in general fund resources for Airport Improvement Program grants for airport safety, construction, and noise mitigation, with a preference for small and rural airports.
    • $155 million for Essential Air Services, a program that helps to ensure small, rural airports like Clarksburg, Beckley, White Sulphur Springs, Morgantown, and Parkersburg maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service.
    • The ‘‘BUILD Act’’ of 2018: the omnibus reauthorizes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields program until 2023, and makes numerous improvements to provide states and local governments with additional tools and flexibility to effectively clean up these contaminated sites.
    • Toll Language: At Senator Manchin’s request, the bill includes a provision that would allow the Secretary of Transportation to waive outdated restrictions on the use of excess toll revenues upon the request of State Departments of Transportation, allowing funds from toll roads like the West Virginia Turnpike to be used for other eligible highway projects.
    • Storage Hub: Senator Manchin fought to ensure that the Department of Energy Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program is funded through the fiscal year, providing a valuable financing tool to support a regional storage hub.
    • Rural Commerce: After seeing first-hand the economic damage inflicted upon West Virginia when Customs and Border Protection refused to provide an agent for any of our ports of entry, Senator Manchin authored language directing the establishment of a succession plan to ensure that at least one person of appropriate rank is located in each state at all time to enforce customs and immigration laws.

Moving West Virginia Forward

  • The bill includes a $26 million increase for the Economic Development Administration for a total budget of $302 million for the agency, which provides significant grant funding to rural areas like West Virginia and was zeroed out in the President’s budget request.
    • $30 million of this funding is to be used specifically for assistance to coal communities.
    • The report also includes language that EDA shall consider geographic equity when making award discussions, and requires EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance to provide at least FY17 levels of funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
    • Senator Manchin’s tireless advocacy also helped save NASA RESTORE-L, a satellite and refueling program vital to the West Virginia Robotics Technology Center located in Fairmont, WV.
    • The bill also includes language encouraging NASA to continue its use of the Green Bank Telescope Observatory, coordinate with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other government agencies to develop potential multi-agency management plans for the Observatory, and include in its FY 2019 budget request any planned support for the subsequent 5 fiscal years.  Report language also requires the Director of NSF to give at least 30 days’ notice to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees prior to any acquisition or disposal of any capital assets, including the Green Bank Observatory.
    • Directs the FBI to invest an appropriate amount of user fee collections into making necessary upgrades to the system technology used by the Criminal Justice Information Services in Clarksburg, WV.
    • Bill language directing that funds cannot be used to reduce US Coast Guard’s Operations System Center mission in Kearneysville, WV.
    • Child Care: A $2.37 billion increase, which is a more than 80% increase for the Child Care Development Block Grants, the largest single-year increase in program’s history, to help families access quality, affordable childcare. This increase will bring an extra $14.9 million to West Virginia to serve an additional 890 children.
    • TRIO and GEAR Up: A $60 million increase for TRIO programs to $1 billion and a $10 million increase for GEAR Up to $350 million. TRIO and GEAR Up provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and first generation college students to help them enter and complete college and postgraduate education.
      • The Omnibus also includes a critical fix for two very important TRIO programs in West Virginia by requiring the Department of Education to review and score TRIO program applications even if they had minor budgeting errors (that have been fixed). Senator Manchin previously introduced the Defending Educational Opportunities for West Virginia Students Act of 2017 (S. 1525) to make this commonsense change.
  • The omnibus also includes $155 million for Appalachian Regional Commission, which was also zeroed out in last year’s budget.  Instead, this year’s funding represents a $3 million increase from current funding levels.
  • Restoring funding levels to the NASA IV&V Facility in Fairmont, bringing $39.1 million to a facility that provides mission-critical software to NASA and has helped bring in considerable investment to the region.

National Security

  • 2.4% pay increase for military personnel, the largest increase since 2010.
  • The omnibus included a $1.3 billion increase the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, as well as significant increases in funding for a number of critical National Guard programs in West Virginia and around the country, including:
    • $30 million increase for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.
    • $120 million increase for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program.
    • Additional $645 million for readiness and reserve centers, training facilities, and other related military construction for Guard and Reserve units around the country. Our reserve components are training in aging armories and training facilities all over the country, and providing these funds will be critical for both safety and readiness.
    • $108 million increase for 8 additional UH-60 Aircraft for Army National Guard.
    • Taylor Force Act: The omnibus includes language from this bill, of which Senator Manchin is a cosponsor, which ensures that no American economic aid will directly benefit the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay stipends to families of terrorists who harm Israelis. 
    • $3.1 billion for assistance for Israel, equal to the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) level and the President’s request, as well as a prohibition on funds for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) until the Secretary of State determines that UNHRC is taking steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.