Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) today announced programs that will greatly benefit from the recent bipartisan agreement that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.
“This bipartisan agreement avoids a government shutdown and includes an array of legislative victories for the 19th District,” said Congressman Faso.
Bolsters Funds to Provide Raises to Members of Our Armed Forces
The bill includes a defense increase of $19.9 billion when compared to 2016 enacted levels. A portion of this money will be used to fund a 2.1 percent pay increase for our Armed Forces, the largest pay increase for the troops in six years.
Strengthens Border Security
The bill allocates $12.2 billion to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The funds are to be prioritized toward increased fencing, roads, and technological improvements along our nation’s borders.
Provides School Lunch Choice for Parents and Schoolchildren
Last week Congressman Faso wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Perdue stressing the importance of milk choice in schools. Twelve additional members of Congress joined the bipartisan letter in support of science-based childhood nutrition.
Language allowing for the service of flavored, low-fat milk was included in the recent spending package, thereby giving local school districts more control over student nutrition.
Fights the Opioid Crisis
Opioid and heroin addiction across our Upstate New York communities is an epidemic that takes coordination and funding to effectively combat. Congressman Faso was pleased to support an additional $650 million to prevent and treat addiction. Congressman Faso is also supportive of the funding increase to the Mental Health Block Grants which benefit community-based mental health systems in the district.
Strengthens National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Congressman Faso has advocated publicly for increases in funding to NIH. The 2017 spending package contains a $2 billion increase for the NIH over 2016 enacted levels, including a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s research and an extra $476 million for the National Cancer Institute. Funding for NIH will also provide support for Lyme disease research and the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group established in the 114th Congress.
Enhances Rural Broadband Access
Congressman Faso voted for more than $65 million for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program, which helps rural communities digitally connect with the rest of the world. This USDA program assists rural schools, first responders, businesses, and homeowners gain access to advanced telecommunication technologies through a series of grants and loans.
Continues Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEA and NEH)
Congressman Faso voted to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by $2 million over 2016 enacted levels. The NEA and NEH provide critical funding and support to local cultural institutions across New York’s 19th Congressional District.
Provides Funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds
Congressman Faso voted to rebuild our nation’s water infrastructure by supporting the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. The 2017 spending package authorizes $2.3 billion for these programs which work to improve safety, efficiency, and other infrastructure projects needed to protect our water supply.
Lifts Cap on Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
After letters to various agencies from Congressman Faso and his colleagues, this recent spending package includes language permitting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to raise the H-2B visa program cap to levels similar to previous fiscal years when the Returning Worker Exemption was authorized.
Small businesses across the 19th District, including landscape companies, rely on H-2B visas to fill seasonal and temporary jobs. Allowing DHS to make a cap adjustment will facilitate a business environment that will encourage growth and economic development in Upstate New York while protecting American jobs.
Provides Funding for United States Department of Agriculture’s Circuit Rider Program
Congressman Faso has publicly testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support of the USDA Circuit Rider Program. The 2017 spending package provides approximately $17 million for this essential program. The local initiative provides primary support to small communities to operate safe and clean drinking water and wastewater systems. Circuit riders are constantly in the field working with our rural water operators providing clean and reliable drinking water to millions of Americans.
Funds Work of Government Accountability Office (GAO)
The American public will always benefit from responsible government and reduced waste. The GAO received $544 million in funding, a $13.5 million increase from fiscal year 2016, to better provide critical oversight work to Congress. GAO reports supply the public with accurate, nonpartisan analysis of federal programs and tracking of how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Increases Funding to Improve and Maintain our Nation’s Roads and Bridges
This bill includes $19.3 billion for the Department of Transportation, $681 million more than was allocated in 2016. Congressman Faso strongly believes that federal investment in our nation’s transportation-related infrastructure could not be more important and was pleased to see additional funds appropriated to meet these needs.