Rep. Peters: NIH Funding, Defense Readiness Boost, No Border Wall make Spending Bill a Win for San Diego
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass a bipartisan federal spending package that invests in San Diego priorities, including a $15 billion increase in defense spending and a $2 billion boost for basic scientific research through the National Institutes of Health. The bill, which appropriates federal spending for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year, does not include funding for President Trump’s border wall or bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for providing healthcare services.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed on a 309-118 vote and will now move to the Senate where it is expected to be passed and sent to the president for his signature.
“This is a good deal for San Diego,” Rep. Peters said. “A fifth of our region’s economy comes from defense, and San Diego is one of the top recipients of NIH research grants. Today we are making unprecedented federal investments in both of these areas to strengthen national security, fuel life-changing discovery, and create more high-paying jobs. This bill also boosts federal homelessness assistance, a longtime priority of mine, and gives our servicemembers a much-deserved raise. And we did this all without caving in to President Trump’s reckless demands to build a border wall and defund Planned Parenthood. That is a clear signal that we are ready to invest in our country’s future rather than allow him to enact his extreme agenda.”
Rep. Peters continued by highlighting how resources directed towards military maintenance and readiness would enhance national security, “A smart, strong national security strategy depends on fielding the most advanced military in the world. That means ensuring our jets are ready to fly, our ships are ready to sail, and our servicemembers have the equipment they need. Sixteen years of war and inadequate support from Congress have eroded military readiness to dangerous levels. These extra resources we provided today will help address maintenance and readiness shortfalls as we work towards a long-term solution that gives our warfighters the tools and technology they need to carry out their missions and keep us safe.”
Highlights from the FY17 Omnibus Spending Bill:
Invests in Science and Innovation
- Invests $34.1 billion in basic scientific research through the NIH, a $2 billion increase over last year and $3.2 billion more than President Trump wanted. This matches the levels authorized in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act that Rep. Peters helped pass last year.
- Increases funding for Alzheimer’s research by $400 million to $1.39 billion, the highest level that the federal government has ever funded. In March, Rep. Peters spoke on the House floor about how federally-funded research on Alzheimer’s can improve lives and reduce healthcare costs.
- Adds $8.7 million for the National Science Foundation, for a total of $7.47 billion to support non-medical research in science and engineering.
Strengthens our military:
- Increases defense spending by $15 billion, with more than $10 billion directed to increase readiness.
- Maintains a provision that Rep. Peters fought for to give the military flexibility to diversify its fuel supply and enhance its energy security.
Rejects President Trump’s Extreme Agenda
- Includes NO funds to build President Trump’s proposed border wall. Last week, Rep. Peters joined a bipartisan call for Congress to reject President Trump’s request for border wall funding in the omnibus spending bil.
- Protects funding for Planned Parenthood.
Expands Educational Opportunity
- Reinstates year-round Pell Grants for college tuition, which is estimated to provide one million students an additional Pell grant of, on average, $1,650. This has been a longtime priority of Rep. Peters, who helped introduce a bill to make this change last month.
- Increases Impact Aid for schools with military families by $23 million for a total of $1.3 billion.
- Allocates $133 million more for Homeless Assistance Grants for a total $2.4 billion. These grants include those allocated through the Continuum of Care program that Rep. Peters has been working to reform to get San Diego its fair share of federal homelessness resources.
- Gives $40 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers to house homeless veterans.
Rebuilds Infrastructure & Protects the Environment
- Provides $10 million to continue improving water and sewage infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico Border, which Rep. Peters has identified as a priority to help prevent future sewage spills.
- Provides $30 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, which can be leveraged for a total of more than $3 billion in low-cost, long-term loans. This is a top priority for the City of San Diego to support its Pure Water Program.
- Gives SANDAG the next $50 million installment on its grant to continue work on the Mid-Coast Trolley.
- Protects funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, including $1.4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $863 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to ensure that communities can provide clean water.