WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Friday this year's Fiscal Year 2022 Government Funding bill contains significant resources to support a number of important Kentucky institutions and programs. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator McConnell advocated on behalf of the Commonwealth in this year's government funding process. The measure now goes to the President for his signature.
"After months of bicameral, bipartisan debate and committee work, the United States Senate has passed a government funding bill containing significant achievements for the people of Kentucky. While neither side sees this legislation as perfect, it is the exact type of compromise bill the Senate was designed to consider," said Senator McConnell. "This legislation secures additional defense funding in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and protects longstanding bipartisan provisions. It also contains millions of dollars to build Kentucky's economy, help Western Kentucky recover from last year's devastating tornadoes, treat our substance abuse epidemic, support the Commonwealth's law enforcement officers and servicemembers, and preserve our natural beauty. I was proud to help craft this legislation with a special focus on Kentucky."
Senator McConnell secured the following achievements in this year's bill to benefit Kentucky:
Securing our National Defense
"With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, President Biden's precipitous retreat from Afghanistan, and bad actors on the rise all across the globe, it has rarely been so important to provide robust investment in America's national defense. I'm proud to say that this year's government funding bill does just that, giving our military the ample resources required to keep America safe," said Senator McConnell. "This legislation also invests in the proud servicemembers and veterans who call Kentucky home, providing them and their families with new opportunities for housing, education, training, healthcare, and more."
· $1.09 billion for chemical agents and munitions destruction, a portion of which supports demilitarization operations at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky.
· $93 million for the new Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky to cover construction cost increases.
· $73 million for the renovation of Vietnam War-era barracks at Fort Campbell.
· $27 million for the construction of a new Child Development Center at Fort Knox.
· $20 million for the National Security Agency (NSA) to support the University of Louisville's cyber workforce training program.
· $10 million for an Army Research Lab manufacturing project, which supports research done at the University of Kentucky.
· $9 million to lease a subterranean training facility in Crestwood, Kentucky, used to conduct training exercises.
Helping Western Kentucky Rebuild from Last December's Tornadoes
"Last year's devastating tornado outbreak was one of the worst disasters to ever hit Kentucky. The rebuilding process will take years and I am committed to providing consistent government resources to help complete our recovery," said Senator McConnell. "This year's federal funding bill will take an enormous financial burden off Kentucky's impacted communities, allowing them to focus their attention and budgets on rebuilding. It will also provide critical support for our farmers at a time when they need it most."
· Directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase their disaster response cost-sharing from 75% to no less than 90% of costs associated with the five Presidentially Declared Disasters that occurred in 2020 and 2021 in Kentucky. Kentucky communities recovering from any of those natural disasters – including December's devastating tornadoes – will only need to cover up to 10% of response and rebuilding costs.
· Directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify funding streams for building temporary grain storage facilities at inland waterway ports, helping Western Kentucky salvage grain storage capacity following the destruction of facilities during last December's tornadoes.
· Instructs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize consideration of areas in Western Kentucky for the $40 million in funding provided to the Community Facilities Grant Program, which grants resources to rural areas to improve utility services, such as broadband and wastewater, and facilities, including hospitals, fire departments, and libraries.
NOTE: Senator McConnell made an additional statement on the disaster recovery support he achieved in this year's Fiscal Year 2022 Government Funding bill. Click HERE to view that statement.
Fighting Back Against Substance Abuse
"Substance abuse is a large and growing problem in the Commonwealth, exploding during the COVID-19 pandemic to take more Kentucky lives than ever before. I have been focused on fighting back against addiction for years, bringing four drug czars from administrations of both political parties to Kentucky and directing more than $300 million in federal funding to support our efforts. I'm proud to say this year's government funding bill goes even further, providing millions of dollars to help Kentuckians beat addiction and keep dangerous drugs off our streets," said Senator McConnell.
· Extends the federal ban on fentanyl-like substances through the end of 2022.
· $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides communities in states like Kentucky with resources to address challenges such as substance abuse.
· $1.52 billion for the State Opioid Response Grant program, which targets resources to states like Kentucky that have been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic.
· $381.9 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program, which has provided millions of dollars to support law enforcement and drug task forces in Kentucky.
· $296.6 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which provides special resources to law enforcement officers in 37 Kentucky counties to combat drug trafficking.
· $194 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program and $25 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug Schools program, both of which support marijuana eradication efforts in Eastern Kentucky.
· $106 million for the Drug Free Communities program, which provides funding to communities in states like Kentucky to create educational programs and raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse.
· $50 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Heroin and Anti-Methamphetamine Task Force programs to help state and local law enforcement agencies, including in Kentucky, combat the spread of deadly drugs.
· $25 million for the CAREER Act transitional housing program for individuals in recovery.
· $10 million for Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act programs that provide resources to recovery centers that help individuals with substance use disorders transition back into the workforce
· $10 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Centers of Excellence program – which includes the Fletcher Group, a partner of the University of Kentucky – to develop recovery housing programs for individuals struggling with substance abuse.
Investing in Kentucky's Infrastructure and Economy
"Last year's landmark bipartisan infrastructure deal provided the largest investment in Kentucky's roads, railways, riverports, airports, and broadband in a generation. This year's government funding bill goes even further, supporting important Kentucky projects to improve our economy, transportation, and safety," said Senator McConnell. "This bill will help cement Kentucky as America's crossroads, with the infrastructure we need to remain a hub for goods, services, and jobs."
· $2.5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to perform construction projects, including on locks and dams on major inland waterways in Kentucky.
· $825 million for the Fossil Energy Research and Development program, which supports research in clean coal technology and rare earth elements and has funded programs such as the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research.
· $775 million for the Department of Transportation's (DOT) RAISE discretionary grant program for critical infrastructure development, which has funded over $265 million in new Kentucky transportation projects to date.
· $450 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) ReConnect grant program to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
· $350 million for the Essential Air Service program, which benefits the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah and the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.
· $321.5 million to support workers performing necessary environmental cleanup operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
· $195 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support infrastructure development in Central Appalachia. This includes funding for the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative, which funds infrastructure projects in coal mining communities. Further, it allocates $16 million for water infrastructure development – a program Senator McConnell helped create - $13 million to address substance abuse, and $10 million to develop broadband.
· $100 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), a 3,090-mile network of highways linking Appalachian states like Kentucky to the national Interstate Highway System.
· $52 million to be split among the 12 Regional Biocontainment Laboratories, including the University of Louisville's biocontainment laboratory, to support research in biodefense.
· $40.4 million for the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, which creates innovative products for visually impaired students and people around the country, representing a $6 million increase from last year.
· $30.1 million for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to support economic and infrastructure development in the Mississippi Delta region, which encompasses a number of counties in Western Kentucky.
· $19.8 million for the National Institute of Health's (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award program, which has provided the University of Kentucky's Center for Clinical and Translational Science with $63.6 million to date.
· Ensures funding remains available for the Letcher County federal prison construction project to move forward.
Helping Kentucky's Farmers
"Kentucky's farmers are the backbone of our Commonwealth, and their importance only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help the hardworking men and women who kept food on our tables during an incredibly difficult time, this year's government funding bill provides robust funding for rural development and farm programs that uniquely assist Kentucky's farmers," said Senator McConnell. "From investing in our rural water resources, to constructing new utilities, to easing regulatory burdens on agricultural businesses, this bill makes major changes to Kentucky farmers' benefit."
· Instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to support continued implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.
· $9.5 billion for the Rural Utilities Services (RUS) loan program, which provides funding for improvements to water, electric, and telecommunications utilities in rural areas, including in Kentucky.
· $40 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Community Facilities program, which provides funding for rural areas to improve their public services. Senator McConnell worked to include a provision to place a focus on Western Kentucky communities impacted by last December's tornadoes.
Preserving Kentucky's Natural Beauty
"Kentucky's impressive natural beauty attracts millions of tourists to our Commonwealth every year, supporting jobs and communities. From improving our parklands, to cleaning up abandoned mines, to fighting back against invasive Asian Carp, this year's government funding bill will provide major support for Kentucky's environment," said Senator McConnell. "I am proud to support this bill's many initiatives to help preserve the Commonwealth's natural beauty for generations to come."
· Includes new legislative language directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to prioritize addressing a backlog of land acquisition at Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge.
· Includes language directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to continue to support conservation and recreation programs at the Green River National Wildlife Refuge.
· $122.5 million for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) program, including $26.6 million specifically for Kentucky, to fund economic development programs in areas previously used for mining. The AMLER program was originally the AML Pilot program created by Senator McConnell with U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) in 2015 and has helped secure $166 million in total for the program.
· $36.5 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) and U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) efforts to combat the spread of Asian Carp, an invasive species present in Kentucky waterways. This includes $500 thousand for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to collaborate with the USFWS and the USGS to craft a plan to stop the spread of Asian Carp by constructing barriers.
· $10.1 million for the Mammoth Cave National Park to rehabilitate cave trails.
· $9 million for the Coal combustion residual program to help safely dispose of coal ash.
· $3 million for the Forest Service's National Recreation Areas, including the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Areas, representing a $1 million increase from previous years. This is in addition to the regular regional allotment.
· $539 thousand for the Daniel Boone National Forest's Stearns District to replace minor recreation features.
· $520 thousand for the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area's Hillman Ferry Campground restroom replacement project.