REP. KATKO HIGHLIGHTS WINS FOR CENTRAL NEW YORK IN OMNIBUS BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following passage in the House of the Omnibus spending bill, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) highlighted several wins for Central New York.
“The funding measure that passed the House today contains significant wins for Central New York, including provisions I advocated for to invest in our water infrastructure, study the scourge of Harmful Algal Blooms affecting Central New York, and bolster access to mental healthcare,” said U.S. Rep. John Katko. “Additionally, this measure provides funding for programs critical to our community like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). It improves access to housing for those in need, invests significantly in the opioid epidemic plaguing our community, and prioritizes school safety.”
Significantly, the measure includes the following initiatives led by Rep. Katko:
- Invests in combating the scourge of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) affecting Central New York and communities nationwide by providing a $1.3 million dollar increase in funding to study the impact of these toxic substances and research how to best mitigate outbreaks.
- Provides a $600 million increase for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). The SRF is the primary federal program that provides financial assistance for states and local communities nationwide to make high priority water investments. The majority of public water systems and municipalities across Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne, and Oswego Counties depend on these funds to maintain and repair local water infrastructure. Clean Water State Revolving funds can be used for a wide range of water infrastructure projects, including nonpoint source pollution management programs, storm water drainage improvements, and watershed projects, all of which can assist in reducing and preventing HABs.
- Includes legislation authored by Rep. Katko to reauthorize the Brownfields Program. The program empowers states, communities, and stakeholders to assess, clean up, and redevelop industrial or commercial sites that have been contaminated with hazardous waste or pollution. The omnibus package increases funding for the program, providing $200 million annually for the initiative through 2023.
- Includes bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Katko to support innovative technology produced in Central New York and directs the FAA to continue operating the ongoing remote tower pilot initiative. Central New York is home to production facilities that create such technology and local contractors would be well situated to compete for these federal government contracts.
- Advances efforts led by Rep. Katko to enhance access to mental health services by expanding the mental and behavioral health workforce included under Medicare. Rep. Katko has previously proposed legislation in the House to add licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to Medicare’s network of eligible service providers. Currently, these highly qualified providers are not able to bill Medicare for their services, despite providing care to seniors and individuals with disabilities. By making this simple change, patients nationwide – especially in rural, underserved communities – will have better access to care.
In addition to spearheading the above initiatives, Rep. Katko successfully advocated for several additional priority items for Central New York including:
- Making the largest investment to date in combating the opioid epidemic by addressing prevention and treatment and providing grants to states and localities to help offset law enforcement costs associated with opioid abuse.
- Providing an $85 million increase in lead hazard reduction grants and funding increases for several key housing programs, including Project-Based Rental Assistance, Housing for Persons with Disabilities, Housing for the Elderly, Section 8, Public, and Native American Housing, Homelessness Assistance Grants and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
- Investing in school safety by providing over $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety efforts to keep schools and students safe.
- Focusing on advancing primary and secondary education by increasing funding for early childhood programs such as HeadStart, Preschool Development Grants, and IDEA Special Education Grants. Additionally, the bill invests in higher education by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award, provides an increase of $86 million to Impact Aid and increase the TRIO Student Aid Program by $60 million.
- Prioritizing veterans care by authorizing an additional $10 million for the veterans crisis line, as well as investing in suicide prevention outreach and VA mental health services.
- Funding agriculture-focused research to stop devastating crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, increase production, and combat antimicrobial resistance.
- Strengthening our national security by providing funding to combat terrorism, bolster aviation security technology, and provide the biggest increase in defense funding in 15 years to fully fund our nation’s military and give troops a pay raise.