December 21, 2020

Manchin: West Virginia Wins Included In Year-End Funding Package

Final legislation includes Bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief funding, comprehensive energy package and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve designation

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the passage of the year-end spending package that includes COVID-19 emergency relief funding, a comprehensive energy package, designation of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and additional West Virginia priorities.

“Late tonight Congress passed a year-end spending package that contains long overdue COVID-19 emergency relief funding, the first comprehensive national energy package in 13 years, designation of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and additional West Virginia priorities. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation I introduced last week served as the foundation for the final COVID-19 relief bill and while some of our priorities were unfortunately not included in the final package, I am pleased this final bill supports programs that will help our workers, families and small businesses make it through the difficult months ahead,” Senator Manchin said. “This year-end package also includes the designation of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve which creates a 7,021 acre National Park and 65,165 acre National Preserve in southern West Virginia and an all-of-the-above update to our national energy policy that focuses on innovation, rather than elimination, by providing a down payment on the research, development and demonstration of technologies to ensure that all of our abundant energy sources are used in the cleanest way possible. This legislation includes many great provisions for the Mountain State and I urge President Trump to sign the year-end spending package immediately.”

Details on the final year-end spending package can be found below:

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package

  • Strong support for small business: The agreement includes over $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including first- and second-round forgivable loans and expanded eligibility for 501(c)(6) nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters. It also includes:
    • $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions, and
    • $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street.
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance: This agreement averts the sudden expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits on December 26th and provides an additional $300 per week for Americans out of work through March 14th.
  • Schools: This agreement provides $82 billion for states, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education.
    • $54.3 billion for public K-12 schools
    • $22.7 billion for institutions of higher education
    • $4 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund
  • Nutritional assistance: The agreement provides $13 billion for nutritional assistance, including a temporary 15% increase in SNAP benefits and additional funding for food banks and senior nutrition programs.
  • Rental assistance: The agreement includes $25 billion in critically needed rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes, and an extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
  • Broadband: The agreement includes $7 billion in funding to close the digital divide, including $65 million to update the national broadband maps.
  • Mental Health and Addiction: The agreement includes $4.25 billion to help those struggling with addiction, including $1.65 billion for Substance Abuse and Treatment Block Grants and $1.65B for Mental Health Services Block Grants


The Energy Act of 2020

Notable provisions include:

  • Modernization of the functions and structure of the Department of Energy’s program for carbon capture, utilization, and storage, to help make these technologies commercially viable for coal and natural gas generation and industrial facilities.
  • Reauthorization of the Weatherization Assistance Program. West Virginia has received over $30 million since 2010 through this program for weatherization work in over 8,000 West Virginian homes.
  • Codification of a NETL-led program to develop advanced separation technologies for extraction and recovery of rare earth elements from coal byproducts. West Virginia University has been a lead recipient and research partner in this work.
  • A robust effort to rebuild domestic supply chains through a multi-Department emphasis on locating, responsibly producing, increasing the efficient use of, recycling, and developing alternatives for critical minerals.
  • Investment in all types of renewable energy resources – including wind, solar, hydropower, marine, and geothermal – including a focus on applying geothermal technologies to deeper or more challenging resources such as West Virginia’s geologic formations.
  • An expanded focus on energy storage, including technical and planning assistance grants to help smaller utilities and electric cooperatives, like West Virginia’s Harrison Rural Electrification Association, deploy energy storage.


New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act

This designation will:

  • Create a 65,165 acre National Preserve and a 7,021 acre National Park
  • Open up 368 acres to hunting in Grandview for the first time ever
  • Keep 301 acres of the Lower Gorge open to hunting following the requests of local hunters
  • Authorize the National Park Service to acquire up to 3,711 acres of land for potential addition to the National Preserve.
  • Authorize the NPS to acquire up to 100 acres near the National Park and Preserve for parking, which is needed to avoid impacts to nearby landowners from increased visitation to the National Park

Water Resource Development Act of 2020

  • Southern WV Economic Development: Senator Manchin secured a provision directing the Army Corps of Engineers, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and other relevant federal agencies to work together on a comprehensive report that would help identify the potential for Corps of Engineers Facilities that could be improved for recreation, economic development, and hydropower in the Appalachian region.
  • WV Water Infrastructure: Senator Manchin secured two provisions expanding the project caps for the Central and Southern West Virginia Environmental Restoration programs by $80 million each, keeping these programs viable and able to continue providing clean water and sanitary waste systems to West Virginia communities.
  • Bluestone Dam: Continues support for the Army Corps to expedite the final bolstering of Bluestone Dam.


Other West Virginia priorities included:

  • Opioids ($3.95B): Billions in dedicated funding to combat opioids including $1.5 billion for the State Opioid Response Grant program with 15% set aside for the hardest hit states, including WV.
  • Clean Drinking Water ($2.74B): Supports nearly $2.74 billion in appropriations toward water infrastructure, as well as $43 million directed to address PFAS chemicals, which have impacted several cities in WV.
  • Suicide Prevention ($757.6M): Includes Senator Manchin’s Crisis Care Improvement & Suicide Prevention Act, which provides an increase of $35 million to the Mental Health Services Block Grant, including a 5% set aside for evidence-based crisis care programs.
  • Youth Homelessness ($303.3M): $106.5 million for McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children & Youth, $116.8 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program at the Administration for Children & Families and $80 million to stop youth homelessness through HUD, as well as language Senator Manchin authored to require schools to provide greater transparency on how funding is spent to assist homeless youth.

  • Appalachian Economic Development ($198.5M): $115 million for AML Economic Development Grants, $50 million for ARC POWER Grants, $33.5 million for EDA’s Assistance to Coal Communities.