Underwood Secures Federal Funding for Local Priorities
WASHINGTON— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) announced today that her efforts to secure important resources for health care, the protection of climate change data, ethylene oxide research, and Fermilab were successful. The legislation passed as a part of the House appropriations package (H.R. 2740, H.R. 3055, and H.R. 3351) for Fiscal Year 2020. The passage comes after a months-long open and transparent process in which Underwood solicited ideas and requests from local governments, non-profits, organizations, and individuals across Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
“Our community is strongest when we are armed with the resources needed to build successful businesses, raise families, and live fulfilling lives. From day one, I have fought to bring the voices of the 14th District to Congress and have worked hard to make sure our priorities are reflected in federal funding bills. I’m pleased to see that so many of the investments I fought for were supported and passed by the House of Representatives,” said Underwood.
On the passage of legislation to protect the Affordable Care Act:
“It is unconscionable to think that federal funds are being spent to undermine a law that protects people with preexisting conditions, allows people up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ health insurance, and helps make quality health care more affordable. We should be working to make health care in this country better—not using taxpayer dollars to sabotage it,” said Underwood.
Underwood’s legislation would prevent the Department of Justice (DOJ) from spending federal funds on litigation that undermines the Affordable Care Act, including Texas v. United States. More information including video of extended remarks from Underwood can be found here.
On the passage of legislation to prevent the Administration from hiding climate change information on official government websites:
“Ignoring the link between climate change and extreme weather presents a direct threat to our national security, food security, and to the livelihoods of Illinois farmers who are already starting to feel the impacts. We cannot let the Administration undermine public discourse on climate change by hiding research—that’s dangerous and unacceptable,” said Underwood.
Underwood’s legislation would prevent federal agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from removing existing public information about climate change. Underwood has stressed the invaluable role USDA research plays in empowering farmers to make important business decisions and adapt their practices to face future challenges.
On investments in research into ethylene oxide:
“Lake County residents deserve answers on the health hazards of ethylene oxide. This investment is crucial to ensure our air is monitored and we have the information we need to keep our families safe,” said Underwood.
Underwood fought to secure a $5.6 million increase for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) compliance monitoring program to support EPA air monitoring for communities identified by the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) as facing high levels of EtO emissions, including those in Lake County. In April, Underwood joined members of the Illinois delegation in districts impacted by Ethylene Oxide to urge the House Appropriations Committee to support ambient air monitoring.
On passage of legislation that invests in Fermilab projects:
“This investment will help ensure Fermilab can continue to be an international leader in science and bring world-class physicists and engineers to the 14th District to conduct important research. This additional investment will help PIP-II meet construction schedules and international commitments; I can’t wait to see the project come to fruition and am so proud of the important work Fermi leads.”
Underwood advocated for an increase in funding for the Department of Energy’s High Energy Physics program to $1.045 billion —an increase that supports research at universities and national labs. Underwood’s advocacy also helped to secure full funding for Fermilab’s top priority projects. The Long Baseline Neutrino Facility/Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment received $170 million for construction projects at the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility/Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE) at Fermilab. Underwood also secured funding for $60 million in upgrades for the PIP-II accelerator.
The House appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2020 also included the following priorities championed by Underwood:
- “Junk Plans” Amendment: The package prohibits the use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce the Trump Administration Rule entitled “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Rule.” These plans are often called “junk plans” because they do not comply with the ACA by covering preexisting conditions and essential health benefits.
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): The package provides $2 million for public health efforts to prevent youth suicide through the Garrett Lee Smith-Youth Suicide Prevention State and Campus grants.
Women’s Economic Security
- Title X Family Planning Program: The package supports comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The bill included a $114 million increase, for a total of $400 million in Title X Family Planning Program funding. Within this amount, the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) program is funded at $5 million, $4 million above the 2019 enacted level. The President’s budget proposed to eliminate WANTO.
Gun Violence Prevention
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) Funding: The package provides $50 million to the NIH and CDC for gun violence prevention research.
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The package provides a total of $995.8 million for SBA, $280.4 million above the 2019 enacted level and $228.7 million above the President’s budget request.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Funding: The package provides $3.8 billion, an increase of $24 million, for substance abuse treatment, including continued funding for opioid prevention and treatment, and three new behavioral health programs to enhance treatment efforts.
Agriculture and Trade
- Underwood Amendment: The package included an amendment by Rep. Underwood to prevent federal agriculture agencies from using funds to remove climate change from official publication.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The package provides $6 billion in funding.
- The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN): The package supported funding for FRSAN, which provides vital mental health resources for farmers.
- Improvements to Rural Broadband Access: The package supported a bipartisan amendment to increase funding for USDA rural E-Connectivity program, which makes loans and grants for broadband deployment in rural communities, and another bipartisan amendment which increases funding for the rural broadband Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program by $25 million.
- Combating Chronic Wasting Disease: The package supported two amendments to increase funding for studying and combating Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which has been reported in the 14th District of Illinois.
- African Swine Fever: The package includes support for funding for research and development of an African Swine Fever vaccine.
- EPA’s Environmental Programs and Management: The package provides support to the EPA for public forums and outreach on ethylene oxide to communities identified in National Air Toxics Assessment. The package provides an amendment offered by Rep. Schneider (IL-10) and supported by Rep. Underwood that encourages EPA to dedicate $25,000 for outreach purposes.
- EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Program: The package provides $5.6 million increase to EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Program to be used towards ambient air testing for ethylene oxide.
- Great Lakes Asian Carp Control: The package provides an additional $500,000 for the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to address Asian carp.
- The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: The package provides $1.8 billion for state and local governments to plan, design, and construct wastewater facilities and other projects, including non-point source, estuary, stormwater, and sewer overflow projects.
- The Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: The package provides $1.3 billion in grants and technical assistance to state and local governments to assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse contaminated properties.
- EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund: The package provides assistance to state and local governments to improve and construct wastewater facilities. The package provides $1.784 million in funding.
- EPA’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program: The package provides $105 million in grants and technical assistance to state and local governments to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties.
- U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program: The package provides $12.4 million to prevent and address wildfire outbreaks, improve forest sustainability, combat climate change, and assist with reforestation efforts.
- USACE Section 219 General Environmental Infrastructure Authority: The package includes support for robust funding for projects located in Illinois.
- Federal TRIO programs: The package provides $1.2 billion, an increase of $100 million above the 2019 enacted level and $210 million above the President’s budget request. Waubonsee Community College and McHenry County College receive TRIO funding.
- Community College Training Grants: The package provides an additional $150 million investment in community colleges that will help meet local and regional labor market demand for a skilled workforce by providing training to workers in in-demand industries.
- Special Education: The package provides $14.5 billion for Special Education, an increase of $1.05 billion.
- Head Start Programs: The package provides a $4 billion increase for early childhood programs.
- Special Olympics: The package provides $21 million for Special Olympics education programs, an increase of $3.5 million above the 2019 enacted level. The President’s budget initially proposed to eliminate this program.
- VA Staffing Shortages: The package provides support to address the funding shortages across the VA, and provides $5 million in additional funds to hire and retain mental health professionals.
- Localized Care and Support: The package provides support for funding which will reduce wait times for veterans on the phone and will provide more timely health services by routing calls to Community Based Outpatient Centers.
- Women Veteran Care: The package provides support for funding to specify and implement improvements at facilities that provide care to women veterans, and increased funding for gender specific care at VA facilities.
- Veteran Transportation Programs: The package provides support for funding for the Veterans Health Administration to modernize the medical transportation programs for veterans and provides $3 million for the Veterans Transportation Program to assist veterans in attending all their medical appointments.
- Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS): The package provides $316 million for an increase of $16 million above the 2019 enacted level and $10 million above the President’s budget request.
- Military Pay: The package provides a 3.1% pay raise for military personnel.
- Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response: The package provides $297 million for Sexual Assault Prevention & Response programs.
- Active Duty Childcare: The package provides $70.7 million for upgrades to childcare facilities.
- Social Security Administrations (SSA): The package provides $13 billion for operating expenses, with an increase of $300 million above the 2019 enacted level to hire additional staff at field offices, teleservice and processing centers and improve public services.
- Election Security: The package provides a $600 million investment for Election Security Grants and $16.2 million for Election Assistance Commission operations.
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: The package provides $1.58 billion which supports research that investigates the causes and interventions for maternal health disparities among Black women.
- Maternal Mortality and Disparities Research: The package provides $50 million to initiate research on maternal mortality and disparities in maternal mortality rates.
- Mental Health Innovation Grants: The package provides a $23 million investment.
- Maternal and Child Health Block Grant: The package provides a $705 million investment.
- Maternal Health Safety Bundles: The package provides a $5 million investment.
- Hospital Breastfeeding: The package provides a $10 million investment in hospital promotion of breastfeeding.
- Task Force on Research in Pregnant and Lactating Women: The package provides an extension of the task force for 2020.
- Health Start Programs: The package provides a $15 million investment.
- Midwife Education: The package provides $2.5 million for midwife education to address the national shortage of maternity care providers, specifically the lack of diversity in the maternity care workforce.
- Maternal and Child Health Bureau: The package provides an additional $5 million investment.
- Research for Women, Infants, Children, and Youth: The package provides a $76 million investment in coordinated services and access to research for women, infants, children and youth.
- Maternal Mortality Review Committees: The package provides $12 million increase in funding for the Center of Disease Control Safe Motherhood and Infant Health program’s Maternal Mortality Review Committees, supporting research to comprehensively assess maternal deaths and identify opportunities for prevention.