Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass two federal funding bills that will support several important Maryland priorities through Fiscal Year 2020.
The funding bills include the domestic priorities and international assistance minibus (H.R. 1865) and the national security appropriations minibus (H.R. 1158).
“This bipartisan funding agreement will help improve education, health care and the environment in Maryland and across the country,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “While I am opposed to several provisions contained in this spending agreement and disappointed that it falls short of the robust appropriations bills passed by House Democrats earlier this year, I am encouraged by the fact that this funding package will deliver critical federal resources to Maryland communities.”
Congressman Sarbanes continued: “The spending agreement also includes significant election security funding to help states harden their voting systems ahead of the 2020 election. In the face of stubborn opposition from Congressional Republicans, House Democrats have worked tirelessly to bolster election security, fight foreign interference and protect our democracy by passing several pieces of legislation – including H.R. 1, the SAFE Act and the SHIELD Act. The hard-won election security funding contained in this spending agreement signals an important step forward in our ongoing effort to provide states with the federal resources they need to modernize election systems and strengthen cyber defenses.”
Key Maryland priorities in H.R. 1865 and H.R. 1158 include:
- Record funding for the Chesapeake Bay – an effort led by Congressman Sarbanes – including $85 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program, $3 million for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways program, and funding for Bay and oyster restoration work throughout the watershed;
- The highest funding level for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 15 years;
- $25 million in additional funding for Maryland’s highways and transit infrastructure;
- Federal funding to clean up drinking water contaminants, such as PFAS and lead, in communities across the country;
- First-time funding for the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, which would help expand access to opioid treatment programs.
- Record funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $25 million for gun violence research;
- Raising the purchasing age for tobacco to 21;
- Record funding for Head Start, Child Care & Development Block Grants and Title I schools;
- Full funding for the 2020 Census;
- A 3.1 percent pay raise for America’s hardworking federal employees; and
- $425 million in new election security grants and a $6.2 million increase for the Election Assistance Commission – key election security efforts that Congressman Sarbanes, as Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, has led in the U.S. House of Representatives.