June 25, 2018

Spending Bills with Manchin Provisions on ARC, VA Caregiver Program, and Substance Abuse Pass Senate

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included provisions in the Energy & Water, Military Construction & Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch spending bills that will benefit West Virginia. Senator Manchin authored provisions that guaranteed that if the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) headquarters are relocated, they will be moved to West Virginia; expanded the VA Caregiver Program to Veterans of all eras; and secured additional funding to fight the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. These three spending bills passed the Senate tonight.

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee I was proud to secure $348 million to fight the opioid epidemic in West Virginia and include funding to expand the VA’s Caregiver Program to Veterans injured in World War II, the Korean, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf Wars,” Senator Manchin said. “Not only that, I made sure that if the ARC headquarters are relocated, they will move to West Virginia. West Virginia is the only state completely in Appalachia, and it just makes sense that we would serve as the Headquarters of the Appalachian Regional Commission. My bill extending the license for the Jennings-Randolph Dam project, which will further diversify West Virginia's energy resources, boost local economies, create jobs, and do so in an environmentally responsible way, was also included in the package. I will continue to fight for funding that helps West Virginia move forward.”

Here is a full list of West Virginia priorities Senator Manchin secured in the spending bills that passed today:

Energy & Water

  • Appalachian Regional Commission: Guarantees that the ARC, if relocated, would move to West Virginia, and also includes $155 million for the Commission.
  • FERC: Authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the license for the development of the hydroelectric project at the Jennings-Randolph Dam in Barnum, WV. 
  • Fossil Energy Research & Development: $727 million, as well as strong funding for the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, including $18 million to develop technologies to extract rare earth elements (“REEs”) from coal byproducts.
  • Title XVII: $33 million for the Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program for the continuation of the program.  The bill also includes report language prohibiting the use of these funds to unwind or phase out the loan program.
  • Small & Modular Coal Tech: Report language supporting DOE’s use of Fossil Energy funding for small and modular coal technologies.
  • Weatherization: $248 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
  • State Energy Programs: $55 million for state energy programs.

Military Construction & Veterans Affairs

  • VA Caregiver Program: $860 million, the amount requested in authorizing language, to expand the program to veterans of all eras.
  • National Guard: Nearly $330 million for National Guard minor construction projects.
  • Opioids: $348 million for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, $52 million to continue implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), and $400 million for the Opioid Safety Initiative.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: $87.4 million increase to hire additional claims and appellate staff for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E).
  • Rural & Telehealth: $300 million for the Office of Rural Health and telehealth services
  • Homelessness: $1.89 billion for VA homelessness prevention programs, including an additional $130 million for the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program.

Legislative Branch:

  • Congressional Research Service: Report language that ensures the Congressional Research Service is able to make their non-confidential materials available to the public.