U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) secured critical resources for Kentucky in an Appropriations Conference Report that passed the Senate today. The legislation contains funding for 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 support their workforce, students, and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Once the House passes the Conference Report, it will be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“The Senate is getting its appropriations process back on track and is attending to vital priorities that benefit our nation,” said Senator McConnell, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “Through my role as Senate Majority Leader, I work to keep the Commonwealth’s interests at the center of the national discussion, and I am proud that I’ve been able to secure important resources to support Kentucky families and communities.”
The following are provisions Senator McConnell secured in the Conference Report:
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 $30 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.
“This legislation will continue rebuilding the readiness of our military and investing more in the men and women who wear the uniform,” Senator McConnell said. “That means our servicemembers will receive the largest pay raise in nearly a decade and our combat units will be equipped with cutting-edge capabilities.”
“I am especially proud that this legislation supports the critical work executed by the men and women at Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, the Blue Grass Army Depot, and those serving in the Kentucky National Guard,” Senator McConnell continued. “With missions that are critically important for our national security, these brave men and women have a strong voice in Washington to ensure the U.S. Armed Forces remain the world’s premier fighting force.”
Labor, Health & Human Services, Education Appropriations:
Provisions adopted from Senator McConnell’s Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act, including:
$5 million in federal career counseling 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, like those in Kentucky.
$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 $3.8 billion in opioid funding, over $1.5 billion to invest in school safety, and 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.
Senator McConnell said, “As Kentucky continues to struggle with the opioid epidemic, I was proud to secure these potentially life-saving resources. By directing funds to research, state opioid response grants, and apprenticeship and job-training programs, we can make a real difference for the families battling the scourge of addiction and the spread of disease. In addition, this legislation will also support workers searching for new economic opportunities, including dislocated coal miners. Throughout this process, I am proud to continue working to secure resources for Kentucky’s priorities in the Senate.”