Senator John Hoeven on Saturday said the U.S. Senate has passed major appropriations and disaster aid legislation for Fiscal Year 2012, which ends September 30. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 is a $1.043 trillion funding bill that marks the second year in a row Congress has scaled back expenditures, reducing discretionary spending by almost $100 billion compared to the FY 2010 budget.
At the same time, the appropriations measures maintain funding for North Dakota priorities, including flood control and support for the state’s military bases. Senator Hoeven serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and was a conferee on the joint committee that reconciled the U.S. House and Senate versions of the final bill.
In addition, Congress passed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, an $8.1 billion disaster relief measure.
The bills include funding for Disaster Aid, Defense, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior/Environment, Labor/Health and Human Services/Education, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and State/Foreign Operations.
“Congress needs to continue to provide savings to control our deficit and debt,” Hoeven said. “At the same time, we’ve passed a funding measure for our nation that includes important priorities like national defense, flood control, and disaster relief to help communities that are working to recover from adversities nationwide, including communities in North Dakota. Over the next year, we need to continue to find savings, and also build a strong business climate for our country that will grow our economy, and most importantly, create jobs for the American people.”
Highlights of the bills include:
Disaster Assistance passed today
- $6.4 billion for FEMA – full funding to ensure that individual and public assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding that will help communities like Minot recover from severe flooding.
- $1.7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct post-flood recovery operation, including $700 million for the Army Corps of Engineers flood recovery efforts, the bulk of which will be devoted to general operations, maintenance and flood control on the Missouri River.
Energy and Water
- $12 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a Fargo-Moorhead Metro flood diversion study.
- $534 million for fossil fuels research and development, including programs at North Dakota universities.
- Funding for the Red River of the North Basin studies.
Department of Defense
- $500 million for ICBM procurement, research and development, including funding for modification to the Minuteman III, missile replacement equipment, and other technical upgrades to the strategic nuclear force, as well as funding for missile engineering and manufacturing development.
- $94 million to modify the B-52 bomber aircraft fleet, including the beginning of a program to enable the aircraft to carry smart weapons internally in its bomb bay, rather than on the wing, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and range. Minot Air Force Base is home to both ICBM and B-52 missions.
- $900 million to fund the Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft, including the procurement of additional aircraft and research and development. Grand Forks Air Force Base received its first Global Hawk in June as part of the base’s new unmanned aerial systems mission. In July, the Air Force activated a new unit at the base to operate and maintain the Global Hawk missions.
- $480 million to expand the C-27J cargo fleet. The C-27J is a smaller, more flexible cargo aircraft used to transport materials in support of combat operations. It is able to operate in remote and rough environments and can take off and land from unprepared surfaces and short airstrips. Fargo Air Base is in line to base and maintain a number of C-27J aircraft.
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
- $68 million that will directly impact North Dakota, including $11.8 million for a B-52 three-Bay Conventional Munitions Maintenance; $34 million for a B-52 two-Bay Phase Maintenance Dock; and $22 million for a 168-bed dormitory at Minot Air Force Base.
- To support our military and veterans, a total of $137.4 billion, including $73.7 billion in discretionary funding and $63.7 billion for mandatory spending for veterans’ benefits. The measure also includes an advance appropriation of $52.5 billion for VA medical care in fiscal 2013.
- $8.1 million – Maintains funding for tribally controlled postsecondary vocational/technical institutions, including the United Tribes Technical College.
- Maintains the maximum level for Pell Grants.
- $1.7 billion nationally for Job Corps – Maintains funding for job training, including the Burdick Job Corps in Minot.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Consolidated Appropriation and Disaster Assistance bills on Friday and President Obama is expected to sign it.
Earlier this month Congress passed $1.6 billion in additional disaster assistance funding. North Dakota will receive a record $317 million in Emergency Transportation funding to assist communities throughout the state with not only flood recovery but also energy development impacts in western North Dakota. Combined with the state’s regular funding allocation of $235 million, North Dakota will have a total of more than $550 million in federal funding to help meet the challenges of statewide flood recovery and energy development.
Congress has also approved $400 million for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to help communities recover from natural disasters nationwide.
Source: office of Senator Hoeven