U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured critical resources for Kentucky in a government funding bill that passed the Senate today. This legislation contains funding included by Senator McConnell to support our brave men and women in uniform serving at Kentucky military installations and in the Kentucky National Guard. It also provides targeted assistance for communities across Kentucky to help combat the opioid epidemic and prevent the spread of infectious diseases brought on by the abuse of opioids.
“As the senior senator for Kentucky, I am proud to be in a position to help deliver crucial federal funding for programs and initiatives important to the Commonwealth,” said Senator McConnell. “In my role as Senate Majority Leader, I have the opportunity to take special care of Kentucky and bring national attention to the issues our communities are facing. This funding measure is a clear win for Kentucky.”
The provisions Senator McConnell secured in the bill include the following:
Over $993 million for Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction – including $880 million for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Program and more than $53 million for the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. Portions of these funds will be used to support safe chemical demilitarization efforts at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky; and
$217 million to support the National Guard Counter-Drug Program. The Kentucky National Guard, working with Appalachia HIDTA, Kentucky State Police, and other law enforcement agencies, will use portions of these funds to support marijuana eradication efforts in Eastern Kentucky.
The funding bill also includes a $10 million increase over the President’s Budget request for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which supports the recovery of missing military personnel, including from the Korean War. It also contains the largest military pay raise in nearly a decade of 2.6 percent for our sevicemembers, including those serving in the Commonwealth.
“The defense appropriations measure supports American military installations at home and abroad. Kentuckians in uniform and their families deserve their well-earned pay raise — the highest in nearly a decade — which this bill provides to all American servicemembers. And Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, the Blue Grass Army Depot, and the Kentucky National Guard can count on the funding they need to continue their important operations,” Senator McConnell said.
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations
Provisions adopted from Senator McConnell’s Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act, including:
$5 million in federal career and training services to assist individuals recovering from an opioid or substance abuse disorder transition from treatment to the workforce; and
A provision directing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to work with states to include career counseling and/or job placement services as part of the recovery support services provided by grant recipients.
$5 million for a new Center for Disease Control (CDC) initiative to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C, instances of which have increased due in large part to the opioid epidemic. The CDC is directed to prioritize high risk areas throughout the country, including 54 Kentucky counties.
$30 million through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to provide career and training services to dislocated workers in rural areas, including dislocated coal workers in Kentucky.
Over $30 million for the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville to continue its important work to create innovative products for visually impaired students and people across the country.
Over $9 million in U.S. Department of Education funding to support work colleges like Berea College and Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky.
The funding bill also provides over $3 billion in opioid funding, $95 million for supporting safe schools and learning environments, over $39 billion in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, of which $500 million will be dedicated to research on opioid addiction and pain management. The bill also increases the maximum award for Pell grants to help low-income students afford higher education.
“I was proud to secure $5 million for a brand-new Centers for Disease Control initiative to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C, which are a consequence of the opioid epidemic. The CDC is directed to prioritize high-risk areas, including 54 counties in Kentucky,” Senator McConnell said. “And this legislation also contains provisions from my CAREER Act, which will dedicate new federal funds to career and training services so that recovering substance abuse patients can transition back into the workforce and rebuild their lives.”
The legislation must now go to a Conference Committee to finalize the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bills.