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House Delegation, DeLauro, Larson, Courtney, Himes, Hayes, Secure Historic Victories for Connecticut in Omnibus Spending Package

December 22, 2020
Press Release

Legislation invests in programs at the center of Connecticut’s health and economic crises

HARTFORD, CT — Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), John B. Larson (CT-01), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Jahana Hayes (CT-05) secured historic investments for Connecticut in the fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending package and coronavirus relief deal. This legislation, which originated in the House and is expected to be signed into law, provides critical coronavirus relief, invests in the programs at the center of the country’s health and economic crises, creates jobs in Connecticut, and supports working families. 

 

“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated so many Connecticut families and shuttered countless businesses,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “From investments in Connecticut’s schools and child care industry to food assistance for hard-working families to investments in our workforce and critical protections for our environment and natural resources, this bill creates opportunities and allows our communities to build back better. The coronavirus relief included in this package is a start, but we are committed to fighting for more relief to support families and help our businesses recover. I am grateful for Connecticut’s strong delegation and our ability to unite and deliver real results for our state.”

“This year’s omnibus spending package included many major victories for Connecticut, including a tax benefit for volunteer First Responders, a boost for Connecticut’s defense manufacturing, funding for Hartford’s federal courthouse, and research into crumbling foundations.  It also included vital funding for COVID relief (including enhanced unemployment benefits and money for testing and vaccines), our public schools, food assistance programs, and energy assistance. These funding increases will help Connecticut families and communities during these difficult times,” said Congressman John B. Larson. “In the new year, the Connecticut Congressional Delegation, spearheaded by the new Appropriations Chair, our own Rosa DeLauro, will continue to work hard for the citizens of Connecticut.”

“I’m proud as always to work alongside my colleagues in the Connecticut delegation to bring back resources and funding to help Connecticut families and businesses,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “From environmental protection and economic development to investment in education and aid for working families, this bill reflects our Connecticut priorities and values. We will continue to work for our constituents in the new year with a new President and a new Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Connecticut’s own Representative Rosa DeLauro, to bring even more support home.”

 

“Last night’s omnibus spending package makes key investments in eastern Connecticut, and we’ve got the House’s hard work to thank for it,” said Congressman Courtney. “Full restoration of the second Virginia-class submarine, support for homeowners impacted by crumbling foundations, critical support for K-12 schools—these are all provisions that the House demanded, and that we fought to advance throughout the year step-by-step. The final bill includes the House Seapower Subcommittee’s top-target of restoring the second sub, it contains the House’s higher levels of support for pyrrhotite research and for programs like CDBG, it authorizes the House’s months-long effort to provide new Title I funding for K-12 schools to help keep teachers and students safe, and more. The House has continued to get the job done all year long, and it resulted in a final spending bill that will help families, workers, schools, and many others across our state.”

 

“From expanding child nutrition and SNAP benefits to combat food insecurity, to providing federal funding for Title I grants for Local Education Agencies, to increasing the maximum Pell Grant for students, this bill will provide desperately needed relief to Connecticut and invest in our communities,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. "A realistic budget was critical heading into 2021 as we continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it has created. I am pleased to work with my colleagues in the Connecticut delegation to bring back critical funding to help the people of our state."

 

Among the many far-reaching investments, this spending bill:

  • Provides Coronavirus Relief for Connecticut’s families and businesses by restoring the enhanced federal unemployment insurance bump with an additional $300 per week and including $284 billion for a second round of PPP loans for businesses nationwide. The relief portion of this bill also provides $10 billion to support our nation’s child care industry and $13 billion in emergency food assistance, including a temporary boost to the monthly food stamp benefit. 

  • Protects Connecticut’s environment and natural resources, investing $18.9 million in the cleanup of Plum Island and repealing a mandate that this natural treasure be sold. 

  • Invests in the revitalization of the Long Island Sound by including $30.4 million, an increase of $9.4 million over FY20 for the Long Island Sound. The Sound is a cultural and economic center for Connecticut, and the House delegation has been fighting tirelessly to restore its natural beauty and preserve it for future generations. 

  • Creates high-paying jobs, with $1.1 billion for 9 CH-53Ks, 2 more than requested in the President’s fiscal year 2021 budget, $9.6 billion for purchase of 96 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and $6.8 billion for the Virginia class submarine program (including restoration of funding for a second submarine) and $4.1 billion for Ohio Replacement. Connecticut’s House delegation fought hard to secure these significant wins.

  • Invests in Connecticut’s infrastructure with $2 billion for Amtrak, equal to the 2020 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the President’s budget request, and $700 million for Northeast Corridor Grants, equal to the 2020 enacted level and $375 million above the President’s budget request.

  • Supports volunteer first responders by making the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (VRIPA) permanent. VRIPA exempts from taxation the nominal recruitment and retention benefits volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel receive from their communities. 

  • Supports special needs students with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Special Education Grants.  The bill provides $12.9 billion, an increase of $173 million over FY2020, to support students who need more specialized support and networks in schools across Connecticut and the country.

  • Keeps our families safer after the horror of the shooting eight years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 26 innocent people dead, forever changing our state. The Connecticut delegation stands as united as any in the country to fight against the gun lobby and call for commonsense gun-safety legislation to keep our children and communities safe. This bill contains $25 million of continued funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to research gun violence, a vital first step

  • Provides energy assistance to Connecticut families, as families throughout Connecticut struggle with unemployment and other economic challenges during the pandemic.  Many are struggling to pay utility bills. The spending package funds the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) with $3.8 billion, an increase of $10 million from FY 2020, to help keep Connecticut families warm.

  • Restores the Federal Courthouse in Hartford, Connecticut, with $135.5 million in federal investments. This funding was included after Senate Republicans only included funding for the Federal Courthouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee, despite Hartford ranking first on the Federal Judiciary Courthouse Project Priorities list for the second year in a row. Failure to include funding for Hartford would have been the first time Congress overrode the Judiciary’s recommendation.  

  • Funds Crumbling Foundations Research, with $2 million to support continued research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) into the effects of pyrrhotite on concrete aggregate, the same dollar amount the House voted to approve in July. 

  • Supports the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, by including the House’s funding level of $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $50 million above the 2020 enacted level.

  • Supports our region’s submarine industrial base, by fully funding the House Seapower Subcommittee’s effort to restore construction of a second Virginia-class submarine with $2.6 billion—matching both the final NDAA and the House-passed defense funding bill—and by initiating construction on the first Columbia-class submarine.

  • Helps K-12 Schools and Higher Education Institutions Respond to COVID-19, with $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, and $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. These programs assist schools like the University of Connecticut, Mitchell College, Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State University, and community colleges and K-12 institutions throughout Connecticut with school facilities repairs and improvements like heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, and more amid COVID-19.

“We are proud of these critical investments and know that in partnership with the Biden-Harrison Administration, Connecticut is poised to build back stronger in 2021,” the Connecticut House Delegation. “These wins for our state foster hope for strong advancements for our children and families and position Connecticut as a leader in recovering and rebuilding." 

The text of the spending package, H.R. 133, is available here.

A division-by-division summary of the appropriations provisions is here. A division-by-division summary of the coronavirus relief provisions is here. A division-by-division of the authorizing matters is here.