WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — The 2021 Appropriations package was recently passed in the United States and Senate and will provide funding opportunities for North Country initiatives.

The FY21 Omnibus Appropriations package will provide funding for the government through September 2021; including priorities for programs and initiatives in the North Country.

Initiatives supported in the FY21 Appropriations Package include rural community economic opportunity advancement, expansion to healthcare access and support for seniors, environmental priority and historic site protection, support for farmers, community safety and veteran and military family support.

A full listing of programs supported by the package are detailed below.

Advancement in economic opportunities for rural communities

  • $30 million: Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC)
  • $10 million: New Rural Postsecondary Education initiative to enhance opportunities for rural students to attain postsecondary credentials
  • $635 million: USDA’s ReConnect Program
  • $60 million: Distance learning and telemedicine grants
  • $1.4 billion: Rural Water and wastewater Direct Loans and
  • $50 million: Guaranteed Water and wastewater loans within the Rural Utilities Service
  • $142 million: Essential Air Service Program  
  • $150 million: Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Expansion to Healthcare access and support for Seniors

  • $1.7 billion: Community Health Centers in the Department of Health and Human Services to provide health services to vulnerable and underserved communities  
  • Over $1.5 billion: Older Americans Act nutrition programs, family caregiver support programs, and community-based support services
  • $3.75 billion: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • $310 million: Weatherization Assistance Program
  • $3 billion: Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias research by the National Institutes of Health
  • $16 million: Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • $5 million: State Partnership Initiative to combat violence against women in the Office of Women’s Health
  • Report language highlighting the need for increased focus on research in women’s health at the NIH 

Environmental priorities and historic site protection

  • $15 million: Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Over $21 million: Acid Rain Clean Air Allowance and Trading Programs
  • $10.8 million: International Joint Commission, including dedicated funding to complete phase II of their expedited review of Plan 2014
  • $20 million: Battlefield Land Grant Acquisition and Restoration Grant program
  • $110 million: Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Wind Energy program

Support for farmers and the food supply chain

  • $635 million: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists to screen passengers and cargo at our nation’s borders
  • $80 million: To support research for specialty crop producers at USDA 
  • $10 million: Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network within the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Full funding for USDA Farm Conservation programs; $734 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service 

Community safety

  • $237 million: Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring program
  • Retain language on coordination between Customs and Border Protection and the United States Postal Service on innovative technologies to combat mail interdiction of heroin and opioids
  • $40 million: Regional Information Sharing Systems Program
  • $90 million: Child Abuse State Grants in the Administration for Children and Families
  • $102 million: Office of National Drug Control Policy Drug Free Communities program
  • $290 million: High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program
  • $2.5 million: Firefighter Cancer Registry

Department of Defense

  • 3% pay increase for U.S. troops
  • $2.5 million: Fund the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence
  • Funding for 96 F-35 aircraft
  • $10.4 billion: Missile Defense Agency
  • $1.5 billion: Modernization of ground-based nuclear weapons
  • Funding for two new Virginia Class Submarines
  • $2.9 billion: Columbia- class nuclear submarine program

Veteran and military family support

  • Full funding or veterans’ healthcare
    • $10 billion: mental health programs
    • $1.9 billion: veteran homelessness prevention
    • $661 million: gender-specific care for women veterans
  • $2.63 billion: Continued implementation of the VA Electronic Health Record System
  • $3.18 billion: Operations at the Veterans Benefits Administration 
  • Over $8 billion: Military construction and family housing projects

Fort Drum specific funding

  • Full funding for the JAG Corps to assist victims of sexual assault within the military
  • $50 million increase for Impact Aid Programs
  • $20 million increase for children with severe disabilities 
  • $48 million: Procurement Technical Assistance
  • $340 million increase for the General Dynamics Stryker Program
  • $110 million increase in funding for the Army to purchase additional MQ-1 Gray Eagle Aircraft to provide ISR capabilities for the warfighter in units like the 10th Mountain Division
  • $191 million: Energy Resiliency and Conservation Investment Program
  • $43.2 million: Civil Air Patrol

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik confirmed her vote in favor of the package and released statements in support.

“Alongside the much-needed COVID-19 relief for families and small businesses, this year-end package fully funds the government through September 2021 and includes key funding priorities I fought to secure for the North Country,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Communities across my district will benefit from the enhanced investments in regional economic development, expanding broadband connectivity, and putting rural students on the pathway to lifelong success. In addition, I was able to secure critical resources to maintain and improve Fort Drum’s military readiness, provide our troops with a much needed pay raise, expand health care access for North Country seniors and veterans, and protect our region’s environmental priorities.”

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