Shelby, Jones vote for funding package

Published 2:01 am Friday, February 15, 2019

Both U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) Thursday voted to approve a comprehensive funding package that includes the seven remaining Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills.

“Passage of this funding legislation is outstanding news for the people of our state and nation,” Shelby, who was heavily involved in the negotiations for the bill, said in a statement. “I am pleased that we were able to negotiate in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to meet each other half way, finishing out the year’s appropriations process to better secure America.  The bill contains critical funding for border security and many essential priorities throughout the country.”

The appropriations package, H.J. Res. 31, was approved by a vote of 83 – 16 and includes FY2019 funding bills for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.  Each of these appropriations bills were passed by a strong majority of committee members when reported out of the Appropriations Committee earlier this year.  Following passage in the Senate and the House, the bill will be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.

Shelby’s office said the legislation contains the following provisions impacting Alabama:


Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies


  • Includes language and funding for the relocation and construction of a new ARS Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, Alabama, as part of the agency’s capital improvement strategy.
  • Includes $1 million for catfish research, $1 million to explore salmonella exposure in livestock, $1 million for poultry research, and $3 million for pollinator research.  Auburn University will also partner with ARS for training and workforce development of scientists for the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility.
  • Includes language specifying that Rural Water and Waste Disposal program account that projects utilizing iron and steel shall use iron and steel products produced in the United States.
  • Maintains funding at $150 million for new watershed projects. Includes language to exempt watershed projects that impact areas greater than 250,000 acres to allow WFPO funds to be used to expand irrigation agriculture in Alabama.
  • Provides $2 million for APHIS to partner with state departments of agriculture to combat the spread of cogongrass.  Alabama is one of two states impacted.
  • Retains language directing the Department to develop a rural development wastewater pilot program to coordinate with a regional university in the Southeast to solve untreated raw sewage issues with innovative technologies and strategic management and regulatory models.


Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies


  • Includes bill language to allow NOAA and Gulf states to participate in and receive funding for cooperative enforcement agreements in state waters.
  • Provides $5 million within NOAA for VORTEX-SE in collaboration with NSF to continue work on tornado formation studies in the southeast.
  • Includes report language and $2 million for university based research regarding the Industrial Internet of Things.
  • Provides $2.6 million for NOAA to implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program.
  • Includes funding and report language for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Initiative.
  • Provides $23.5 million to support increased staffing efforts at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
  • Continues to provide funding for remote water sensing research that is currently ongoing at the University of Alabama.
  • Increases to Byrne JAG, COPS Hiring, and COAP will assist State and local law enforcement and public health officials in Alabama combat violent crime and the opioid crisis.
  • Provides $385 million for FBI Construction, which supports the ongoing and growing efforts in Huntsville, Alabama. Also includes Senate report language supporting TEDAC and HDS efforts stands and new statement language highlighting TEDAC’s accreditation.
  • Contains report language directing USTR to establish an exclusion process for tariffs imposed on goods subject to Section 301 tariffs in Round 3.
  • Provides $35 million for additive manufacturing for Marshall Space Flight Center.
  • Includes $2.15 billion for the Space Launch System, with $150 million of those funds applied towards the Exploration Upper Stage engine. This funding will ensure the earliest possible crewed launch of SLS, as well as prepare for a regular cadence of heavy lift science and human exploration missions.
  • Includes $100 million for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, of which $70 million is for a flight demonstration mission by 2024.


Financial Services and General Government


  • Includes language to temporarily extend the Northern District of Alabama judgeship.
  • Continues language to prohibit completion of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recreational off-highway vehicles rulemaking in FY2019 until further study.


Homeland Security


  • Provides $20 million for capital improvements and infrastructure modernization for the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, as well as $66 million for training and education.
  • Includes $25 million, $21 million above the budget request, for the Secret Service’s National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover to expand training for State and local law enforcement and legal and judicial professionals in computer forensics and cyber investigations.
  • Includes $7 million for the Explosive Detection Canine Program to continue scientifically validated canine mobile sensing technology for explosives detection, which will be developed in collaboration with Auburn University.
  • Provides $120 million, $95 million above the budget request, to restore the aging Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopter.


Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies


  • Includes NPS Land Acquisition funding for the Little River Canyon project.
  • Provides USFS Land Acquisition funding for the Alabama Wild Wonders project.
  • Continues funding for the Muscle Shoals NPS Heritage Partnership Program.
  • Includes increased funding for USGS Cooperative Research Units.
  • Includes $15 million for the EPA Technical Assistance Grant Program.
  • Includes $115 million for the OSM Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program with $10 million for the State of Alabama.
  • Includes $228 million for the EPA State and Local Air Quality Management Grants in addition to report language directing the EPA to distribute the grants in the same manner as 2015.
  • Continues a general provision to ensure that the EPA requires the use of American iron and steel in State Revolving Fund projects.


Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies


  • Provides funding for BUILD, FAA Grants-in-aid for Airports, FAA contract towers, FAA advanced materials/structural safety, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, and CDBG.
  • Includes report language regarding autonomous vehicles and advanced materials/structural safety in aviation.
  • Includes $6 million for low- and no-emission bus testing research that will take place at Auburn University.
  • Provides $20 million for MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant program.
  • Increases infrastructure investments within the bill will provide Alabama an additional $52.6 million for roads, bridges, and tunnels above the FAST Act authorized levels.


State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

  • Supports international programs and operations that strengthen national security and advance American interests abroad.