May 04, 2017

Manchin Secures West Virginia Priorities in Spending Bill

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today voted for the fiscal year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill that includes a permanent solution for retired miners healthcare benefits, funding to fight the opioid epidemic, additional disaster funding to support ongoing recovery efforts from last summer’s devastating floods, along with investments in fossil energy research and broadband expansion. In February, Senator Manchin sent a letter to President Trump describing the specific priorities that would benefit West Virginia. Senator Manchin’s bill the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing (HIRE) Veterans Act was also included in the omnibus package.

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am in a unique position to advocate for investments in our West Virginia communities,” Senator Manchin said. “In February, I sent a letter to President Trump asking that as he and his administration draft their budget, that he should consider provisions that will benefit the hardworking people of the great state of West Virginia and rural America who are too often overlooked. From there, I met with my colleagues, community leaders, local elected officials, advocates and experts to further advocate for what I believed would benefit the people I represent. I am proud to say that many of my priorities, including my bill the HIRE Veterans Act, were included in the funding bill for fiscal year 2017.”

West Virginia Highlights in FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Healthcare highlights

  • Includes significant funding to combat the opioid epidemic, including:
    • $103 million in funding for CARA programs to combat the opioid epidemic
    • $2.1 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant
    • $50 million in additional funding for the VA to strengthen opioid and substance abuse treatment programs
    • $43 million for drug courts and $7 million for a veterans’ treatment court
    • $112 million for opioid overdose protection
    • $223 million for substance abuse prevention programs
    • $254 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program
    • $3 million for USDA Rural Health and Safety Education Program to address the opioid abuse epidemic and to combat opioid abuse in rural communities
    • $2.1 billion for Drug Enforcement Administration salaries and expenses, including funding to establish four new heroin enforcement teams
    • $10 million transferred to DEA from Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services for methamphetamine lab cleanup
    • $19.274 million for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) Office of National Drug Control Policy
    • $254 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
    • $114.871 million for Other Federal Drug Control Programs
    • Increases NIH funding by $2 billion for a total of $34 billion


  • $6.350 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • $78.480 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • $315 million for the Commodity Assistance Program
  • $9.25 billion for Head Start


  • $3.39 billion for LIHEAP
  • $668 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development
  • $306 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
  • $225M for Weatherization Assistance Program


  • $159 million for FAA’s contract tower program.
  • Provision to allow airports impacted by a Presidential disaster declaration to use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for permanent repairs relating to runway safety if they are denied funding for these permanent repairs through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Rural Development

  • $105,000,000 for grants to States for the reclamation of abandoned mine lands in conjunction with economic and community development and reuse goals
  • $248 million for Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund program
  • $0.5 million from USDA’s ‘Rural Development, Salaries and Expenses' shall be used to develop an implementation plan for increasing access to education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in rural communities through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program. The agreement directs that the implementation plan also address the availability of, access to, and quality of access to STEM education in rural communities
  • $65.6M in USDA for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program
  • $1.6 million in USDA made available for distance learning and telemedicine grants to provide for upgrades to the equipment and facilities of ambulances (and other emergency transportation vehicles) and to medical facilities, such as hospital and community health centers, and such technical assistance as may be needed
  • $920 million in loans for rural businesses and industry loan program
  • $1.25 billion for rural infrastructure for rural water and waste program loans
  • $237 million in Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Assistance Programs. Of that amount, $30 million is targeted for assistance to coal communities
  • $130 million for Department of Commerce Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $25 million for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, to include funding for center establishment and up to $5,000,000 for coordination activities
  • $3 billion for Community Development Block Grants
  • $500 million for the TIGER program
  • $137.5 million for HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative
  • $950 million for HUD HOME investment partnerships program
  • $54 million for Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program
  • $140 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
  • $152 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
    • To diversify and enhance regional business development, $10 million is provided to continue the program of high-speed broadband deployment in distressed counties within the Central Appalachian region that have been most negatively impacted by the downturn in the coal industry. This funding shall be in addition to the 30 percent directed to distressed counties
    • Within available funds, $70 million is provided for base funds and $50 million is for the POWER Plus Plan
    • Within available funds, $16 million is provided for a program of industrial site and workforce development in Southern and South Central Appalachia, focused primarily on the automotive supplier sector and the aviation sector. Up to $13.5 million of that amount is provided for activities in Southern Appalachia. The funds shall be distributed according to ARC's Distressed Counties Formula, which comprises land area, population estimates, and a proportion of the number of distressed counties
    • In addition, the agreement provides $6 million for a program of basic infrastructure improvements in distressed counties in Central Appalachia. Funds shall be distributed according to ARC's Distressed Counties Formula and shall be in addition to the regular allocation to distressed counties
    • Section 421 includes funding for Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery and directs HUD to allocate the funds in accordance with the methodologies published in Federal Register Notices 81 FR 39687 for disasters occurring in 2015 and 82 FR 5591 for disasters occurring in 2016 or later
    • $11 million for the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
    • $1.62 billion for Farm Service Agency loans (an increase of $29 million) 

Interior & Environment

  • $2.3 billion for EPA state revolving funds (clean water and safe drinking water)
  • $20 million for Forest Stewardship
  • $73 million for Chesapeake Bay restoration
  • $400 million for LWCF
  • $465 million for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
  • $25 million for National Conservation Training Center, Fish & Wildlife Service an increase of $2.6 million increase for maintenance

US Army Corps of Engineers

  • $1.876 billion for Construction
    • $4 million is allocated for Bluestone Lake, WV
    • $3.149 billion for Operation and Maintenance, of which, 
      • $ 2.151 million at Jennings Randolph Lake, MD & WV
      • $0.186 million at Cumberland, MD And Ridgeley, WV
      • $1.386 million at Beech Fork Lake, WV
      • $2 million at Bluestone Lake, WV
      • $2.768 million at Burnsville Lake, WV
      • $2.564 million at East Lynn Lake, WV
      • $0.46 million at Elkins, WV
      • $466 million for Inspection Of Completed Works, WV
      • $8.927 million at Kanawha River Locks And Dams, WV
      • $31.867 million at Ohio River Locks And Dams, WV, KY & OH
      • $2.822 million at Ohio River Open Channel Work, WV, KY & OH
      • $2.183 million at R D Bailey Lake, WV
      • $1.405 million at Stonewall Jackson Lake, WV
      • $2.653 million at Summersville Lake, WV
      • $2.525 million at Sutton Lake, WV
      • $1.453 million at Tygart Lake, WV

STEM highlights

  • $40 million for NASA Space Grant program
  • $39.1 million for NASA Independent Verification and Validation services, under the $2.768 billion NASA Safety, Security & Mission Services
  • $7.472 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • $5.675 billion to NOAA
  •  $19.653 billion to NASA
  • Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)
    • $160 million through NSF
    • $18 million through NASA
    • Not less than 15 percent of the competitive research grant funds be used for USDA's agricultural research enhancement awards program, including USDA-EPSCoR

Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing (HIRE) Veterans Act

  • Senator Manchin introduced the HIRE Veterans Act in February with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), which will recognize qualified employers for meeting certain criteria designed to encourage veteran-friendly businesses, including: what percentage of new hires, or the overall workforce, is made up of veterans; what types of training and leadership development opportunities are made available; what other benefits and resources are offered, such as tuition assistance; and other factors that demonstrate a commitment to supporting veterans throughout their post-military careers. The recognition would come in the form of a Medallion Certificate, awarded at the platinum and gold levels.
  • Five years ago, Senator Manchin was formed the bipartisan Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, which has worked diligently to reduce the veterans unemployment rate.