(Honolulu, HI) – U.S. Congressman Ed Case (HI-01), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for all federal discretionary spending, today voted with a majority of his colleagues to pass a $1.4 trillion measure to fund the federal government for the current 2021 fiscal year (FY). If approved by the Senate as expected, the bill will go immediately to President Donald Trump for his consideration and expected signature into law.
“It was way too late and unnecessarily disruptive, but Congress is finally coming together to avert what would have been another disastrous government shutdown with an agreement to pass this bill providing critical funding for our current fiscal year,” said Case.
“This measure supports indispensable programs for all Americans across the board including defense, health care, education, social services and natural resources. It also includes key provisions of special importance to our Hawai‘i that I requested and worked for through my House Appropriations Committee and otherwise.”
Highlights of the FY 2021 measure of special interest to Hawai‘i and for which Case advocated throughout the yearlong appropriations process include:
- $355 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants, rejecting the Administration’s proposal to cut this program by $76 million. This program helps fund the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
- Direction that the United States Customs and Border Protection consult with and provide recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other state and local partners on preventing the introduction of invasive species to Hawai‘i and non-contiguous U.S. territories.
- $101 million, level funding from FY 2020, for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
- Direction that the Department of Homeland Security provide a report to the Committee on Appropriations on the challenges of recruiting and retaining federal employees in rural and non-contiguous states, to include Hawai‘i.
Financial Services and General Government and Related Agencies
- Extension of Hawai‘i’s longstanding fourth temporary federal district judgeship.
- $778.9 million for the Small Business Administration.
- $4 million for the Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program to foster innovative, technology-driven small business development.
- $133 million to continue development of Home Defense Radar – Hawai‘i, rejecting the Administration’s decision to zero-out funding for the project.
- $5 million to assure the full research needed to ensure the safety of military underground fuel storage tanks while the Navy, Environmental Protection Agency and State of Hawai‘i work to determine a permanent solution for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.
- $77.3 million for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Regional Centers, $3.9 million above the President’s budget. This account support Hawaii’s Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Waikīkī.
- $23.3 billion to procure 10 Navy ships, including two SSN-774 Virginia Class attack submarines which are the next generation of our country’s sub fleet and in the Indo-Pacific will be serviced at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawai‘i’s largest industrial employer.
- $50 million for military Impact Aid programs under which the federal government compensates state and local school districts with high military populations for the cost of educating dependents, with an additional $20 million specifically set aside for children with severe disabilities.
Commerce, Justice and Science
- $1.25 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Atmospheric Baseline Observatories, which includes the Mauna Loa Observatory, to modernize infrastructure.
- $56.5 million, a $1 million increase, for the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Program, which includes the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
- $33 million, a $4.5 million increase, for the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.
- $9 million for the Marine Debris Program to clean up our oceans and develop solutions to land-generated debris.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies
- $2 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program.
- Direction ensuring that the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration funding does not lapse at the end of 2020.
- $3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, a $238 million increase.
- $40 million for HUD/VA Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans Program, a critical program for homeless veterans in Hawai‘i.
- Report to Congress on the implementation of the National Parks Air Tour Management Act, which requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Park Service to establish air tour management plans for the most impacted National Parks, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes and Haleakalā National Parks.
- Report to Congress on how the FAA has implemented National Transportation Safety Board recommendations on commercial tour flights, and, if the FAA decided not to implement these recommendations, why.
Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
- $1.7 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, an increase of $50 million above the FY 2020 level and an increase of $665 million above the request. Sustained support for this program is needed because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reported that authorized channel depths nationwide are available less than half of the time, and even then, only over half of the channel’s width are supported.
- Hawai‘i-specific U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operations and Maintenance Projects: Barber Point Deep Draft Harbor ($350 million), Hilo Harbor ($200 million), inspections of completed works ($591 million) and project surveys ($684 million).
- $1.8 million for the National Shoreline Management Study. This study contributes to ongoing efforts to improve coastal management in collaboration with other agencies and states to address erosion, sand movement and the environmental and economic implications of shoreline change.
- $62.5 million for the State Energy Program Grants, which the Administration proposed eliminating. These grants will allow Hawai‘i to ramp up energy efficiency, renewable energy projects and grid-modernization projects.
Labor, Health, Human Services and Education
- $20.5 million for the Native Hawaiian Health Care program.
- $37.4 million for the Native Hawaiian Education program.
- $19.0 million for the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions program.
- $5.1 million for the Strengthening Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions program.
- $2.3 million for the Native American/Native Hawaiian Library Services program.
Interior, Environment and Related Agencies
- $223.9 million for National Park Service (NPS) construction, which includes $5.7 million for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and $16 million for Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
- $3.5 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service State of the Birds Activities, a $250,000 increase. These funds support efforts to recover our most endangered Hawaiian forest bird species.
- $1.3 million for the NPS American Indian and Native Hawaiian Art and Culture Grants program.
- $34 million in Department of Interior Compact Impact funds, which assists Hawai‘i and the Pacific territories to partially offset the costs of Compact migration.
- $3.2 million for the NPS Japanese American Confinement Sites program, which funds the preservation and interpretation of U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II, such as the Honouliuli Internment Camp and Sand Island Detention Camp on O‘ahu.
- $30.3 million for the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program. This includes funding for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which monitors the active volcanoes in Hawai‘i, assesses their hazards, issues warnings and advances scientific understanding to reduce impacts of volcanic eruptions.
- $15.2 million, a $1 million increase, for the NPS National Trails System. This includes the Ala Kahakai National Historical Trail on Hawai‘i Island.
- $3.5 million for brown tree snake research and control.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- $19.7 million for the East-West Center, an increase of $3 million over the FY 2020 enacted level.
- Direction that the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) prioritize investments in the Pacific Islands, including to support women’s economic empowerment, and requiring a report on a strategy to increase DFC investments in the region.
- Direction that the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) study and enhance its outreach to areas of the United States that have received disproportionately less engagement and financing support from EXIM. Hawai‘i is among a handful of states that receive disproportionately less export financing from EXIM relative to gross domestic product.
- $1.5 billion to support the implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-409).
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
- Funding for five major military construction projects in Hawai‘i: two new child development centers, an aircraft maintenance hangar at Wheeler Army Airfield ($89 million) and two wharf improvement projects at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam ($115 million).
- Direction to the military to address the parking shortfall at Tripler Army Medical Center, to include the possible location, cost and timeline for building a new parking garage that sufficiently fulfills the parking demands for both the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- $1.2 million for the Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program, which assists Native Hawaiians.
- Directing continued preferential contracting for Native Hawaiian Organizations and other indigenous peoples with respect to working with the Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration. Also, direction that the VA has not done a sufficient job of making eligible communities aware of the opportunity, and thus is instructed to provide to the Committees on Appropriations a plan for providing information to relevant communities about their eligibility for this opportunity.
- Prevents efforts to transfer funds away from the Filipino Equity Compensation Fund, which provides a one-time, lump-sum payments to eligible World War II Philippine Veterans.
- Direction to the VA to provide the Committees on Appropriations with a feasibility study on the establishment of a VA Center for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islander Health to focus on research, service and education to improve the lives of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islander veterans.
- Notes that American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC) has completed the draft report on its study of three potential sites for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific interpretive center and is awaiting stakeholder feedback, including from the National Cemetery Administration.
The agreement urges ABMC to provide its final report to Congress by the end of the calendar year so a final decision can be made.
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies
- Direction to the USDA to update its 1979 calculation of school nutrition assistance program reimbursement rates in Hawai‘i to actually reflect today’s cost of producing a school lunch and breakfast.
- $5 million for the Micro-Grants for Food Security program, which provides grants to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food through small-scale gardening, herding and livestock in food insecure communities in Hawaii.
NOTE: Summary of the measure is attached