Reed Scores Key Victories for RI in ‘Minibus’ Appropriations & Says Bill Will Help Continue Economic Growth

 Reed Scores Key Victories for RI in ‘Minibus’ Appropriations & Says Bill Will Help Continue Economic Growth
Share it

Six-bill appropriations package includes federal funding to propel U.S. economy forward, keep Americans safe, help families thrive, and includes over $122.7 million in Reed-backed earmarks for RI

WASHINGTON, DC – Months of hard work by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) in the Senate Appropriations Committee will soon pay off for Rhode Island as Congress finally takes up the first bicameral, bipartisan package of six fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills this week.  The appropriations package includes over $122.7 million in federal earmarks for a variety of Rhode Island projects that Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Legislative Branch subcommittee, helped include.

Overall, the six-bill fiscal year 2024 “minibus” appropriations package provides $467.5 billion to fund a variety of key federal departments, agencies, and programs, including: Agriculture; Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS); Energy-Water; Interior-Environment; Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (Milcon-VA); and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) measures.

Senator Reed fought for and won several key victories in the final bill, which is scheduled to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives as early as Wednesday, followed by a Senate vote later in the week.  Both chambers of Congress must act before March 9 to prevent a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Senator Reed successfully advocated for initiatives to support America’s veterans and servicemembers, and boost infrastructure and housing and workforce opportunities.  He led efforts to improve public safety and ensure safe, efficient travel.  Examples of Reed-backed priorities included in the minibus include:

  • Fully funds veterans’ medical care and benefits—and delivers historic investments to increase mental health services for veterans, help end veteran homelessness, and support women veterans’ health care and veterans exposed to toxic substances.
  • Critical funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a lifeline for nearly 7 million pregnant and postpartum women and young children.  The bill averts a disruption of benefits to eligible participants.
  • Invests in hiring new air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors to keep people safe and reduce delays for passengers.
  • Protects vital rental assistance to help millions of households keep a roof over their head and invests in key programs to help build more housing.
  • Sustains critical infrastructure programs to keep rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, and transportation network.
  • Rejects drastic cuts to core environmental and conservation programs—and extreme riders that would block progress to tackle the climate crisis.
  • Strengthens federal investments in cutting-edge scientific research and innovation.
  • Includes Reed’s bill language to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act (UFA) for seven years.  The UFA makes it illegal to manufacture, own, or sell a firearm that isn’t detectable by a walk-through metal-detection machine and a scanning device.
  • A $5 million set aside for a pilot program based on the Collins-Reed Working Waterfront Preservation Act to provide federal grants that preserve and improve working waterfront property.

“As an appropriator, it’s my job to help responsibly fund the government and ensure we are wisely investing in effective programs and strategically allocating federal funds.  This was an unnecessarily protracted negotiation, but in the end, the job is getting done.  I was able to ensure Rhode gets its fair share of federal funds, including earmarks to support beneficial local projects and impactful public infrastructure improvements,” said Reed.  “In Rhode Island, the federal funding in these bills will help feed the hungry, enhance public safety, strengthen communities, support our veterans and their families, and invest in research and infrastructure.  I hope we can get this package of bills done quickly and follow it up by passing the remaining appropriations bills ahead of the March 22 deadline.”

A breakdown of the Reed-backed $122.7 million in federal earmarks follows:

Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies: $7.7 million, including:

  • $3.5 million for a Block Island Public Safety Complex
  • $2 million for Flood Mitigation in the Pocasset River Watershed Floodplain
  • $1.95 million for Aquaculture Diagnostics at Roger Williams University
  • $165,000 for the Town of Richmond to construct a Radio Tower
  • $55,000 for a new elevator at the Richmond Senior Center

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: $10.4 million, including:

  • $1.2 million for RI Department of Corrections Vehicles
  • $1.15 million for URI’s Marine Geological Laboratory
  • $1 million for the Cumberland Police Department to purchase updated Communications Equipment
  • $1 million for the South Kingstown Police Department to acquire a Mobile Command Vehicle
  • $795,000 for URI Secure Computing and Data Infrastructure
  • $707,000 for Coventry Police Equipment
  • $689,000 for Lincoln Emergency Communications Systems
  • $600,000 for URI STEEP (Superfund Research)
  • $570,000 for Police Equipment in Warwick
  • $500,000 for the RI Department of Corrections Job Training Programs
  • $430,000 for the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s Afterschool Fitness Initiative
  • $420,000 for Justice Assistance’s Habitat for Justice Program
  • $350,000 to CCRI to Create Workforce Pathways for Currently or Formerly Incarcerated Persons
  • $280,000 for Police Vehicles in Tiverton
  • $225,000 for Providence Police to acquire a Forensic Evidence Collection Vehicle
  • $220,000 for Day One’s Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program
  • $220,000 to the YMCA of Greater Providence to Establish a Police/Community Engagement Program

Energy and Water Development: $5.34 million, including:

  • $1.025 million for the City of Providence to Install Microgrids at Recreation Centers
  • $950,000 for Project Condition Surveys
  • $787,000 for the Woonsocket Local Protection Project
  • $668,000 for Fox Point Hurricane Barrier O&M
  • $500,000 for Little Narragansett Bay
  • $400,000 for Great Salt Pond Dredging
  • $400,000 for Block Island Harbor of Refuge Dredging
  • $300,000 for The Rhode Island Coastline (engineering and design work)
  • $300,000 for Little Narragansett Bay
  • $16,000 for Inspection of Completed Works

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: $13.2 million, including:

  • $3.25 million for a Sewer Connection at Coventry High School
  • $2.24 million for Pump Station Upgrades in Warren
  • $2 million for Wastewater Treatment Facility Upgrades in Westerly
  • $1.58 million for Wastewater Treatment Collection System Inspection Project for West Warwick
  • $1.2 million for Sewer Line Replacement in Lincoln
  • $1.1 million for a Water Main Extension in Smithfield
  • $500,000 for the Restoration of Providence City Hall
  • $500,000 for Collections Preservation at the Tomaquag Museum
  • $500,000 for Repairs to Ochre Court at Salve Regina University
  • $300,000 for Restoration of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: $30 million, including:

  • $30 million for a new National Guard Readiness Center in North Kingstown

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: $56.2 million, including:

  • $5 million for Repairs to the Newport Cliff Walk
  • $3.8 million for Pedestrian – and Bicycle-Safe Street Improvements in Pawtucket
  • $3 million for Amos House to Create Affordable Housing for Abuse Victims
  • $3 million to Update the Central Falls Public Safety Complex
  • $3 million for the Ten Mile River Greenway
  • $2.08 million to Alleviate Roadway Flooding in Johnston
  • $2 million for Pierce Field in East Providence
  • $2 million for the Travelers Aid Tower, Housing Expansion at Crossroads Rhode Island
  • $1.95 million for Knightsville Park in Cranston
  • $1.7 million for Streetscape Improvements in Centredale
  • $1.66 million for RIDOT’s North Main Street Improvements
  • $1.2 million to Resurface the Washington Secondary Bike Path
  • $1 million for Halliwell School Redevelopment Project in North Smithfield
  • $1 million for Sojourner House to Provide Affordable Housing for Victims of Abuse
  • $1 million for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council’s Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project
  • $1 million for North Kingstown Indoor Recreation Facility
  • $1 million for Pawtucket Housing Authority Upgrades to Galego Court
  • $1 million for the Sheridan Village Housing Development in Olneyville
  • $920,000 for Providence to Make Green Infrastructure Improvements at Mashapaug Pond
  • $875,000 for Trinity Repertory Company to Make Accessibility Improvements
  • $850,000 for Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern RI for the Renovation of Cumberland-Lincoln Clubhouse and Grounds
  • $850,000 for RIDOT’s Woonasquatucket River Greenway – Smithfield Trail Improvement
  • $800,000 for Pawtucket Central Falls Development to Create Affordable Housing
  • $789,000 for Family Service of Rhode Island Children’s Home Rehabilitation
  • $700,000 South Kingstown Peace Dale Library Expansion
  • $700,000 for the Providence Public Library
  • $700,000 for Ocean Community YMCA’s Westerly-Pawcatuck Branch Renovation
  • $585,000 for Higher Ground International’s Community Programming Space
  • $500,000 for Pawtucket Library, Sayles Building
  • $500,000 for the Jonnycake Center to Construct Affordable Housing in South Kingstown
  • $500,000 for Woonsocket’s Community Center & Cass Pond Restoration
  • $486,490 for Oasis International’s IT Media Lab and Entrepreneurship Center Build Out

Reed noted the remaining six bills must still be finalized, voted on, and enacted prior to March 22 in order to prevent a partial government shutdown, which Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have vowed to prevent.  The remaining six appropriations bills include: Defense; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Labor-Health, Human Services, and Education (LHHSE); Legislative Branch; and State and Foreign Operations.

But even if Congress finally passed all twelve appropriations bills before the March 22 final deadline, and President Biden signs them into law, foot-dragging by extremist House Republicans has still placed lawmakers 174 days behind their original deadline and delayed work on fiscal year 2025 measures.

Share it

LPR News