U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Bipartisan Omnibus Bill

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Baldwin secured several significant provisions for the state of Wisconsin

By - Dec 18th, 2015 12:55 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which now heads to the President’s desk to become law:

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was proud to help usher in this bipartisan compromise which not only rolls back the harmful, arbitrary cuts we’ve seen due to the sequester, but does so in a fair, responsible, and balanced way that strengthens our investments in education, the environment, infrastructure and innovation, while ensuring we provide for our national defense here at home and abroad.

“While I am concerned that the bill lifts the longstanding ban on exporting American crude oil and contains cybersecurity legislation that does not adequately protect privacy and civil liberties, I believe this legislation goes a long way in supporting Wisconsin’s middle class and working families at a time when Badger State residents are struggling to get ahead as Wisconsin’s economy continues to lag behind.

“As Congress prepares to adjourn, I remain committed to working across party lines in the New Year as I fight to move Wisconsin, and our nation, forward.” (DOWNLOAD audio of this statement here.)

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin was able to secure several, significant provisions for the state of Wisconsin, some of which include investments in:

“Made in Wisconsin” Shipbuilding Suppliers

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, included a provision championed by Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requiring the domestic manufacture of certain shipboard components, such as diesel engines, for the U.S. Navy’s new oiler ship, one of which will be purchased in FY16 for $674 million. This provision will help ensure a level playing field for Beloit, Wisconsin-based Fairbanks Morse Engines, which has been a key supplier of superior-performance and best-value diesel engines to the U.S. Navy for decades, as well as other suppliers in America’s shipbuilding industry. Enacting this requirement into law will provide Fairbanks with an opportunity to fairly compete for propulsion work on the Navy’s new oiler program, which ultimately will include 17 ships in the fleet, constructed over the next 17 years. In November, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to leadership of both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense, urging them to include this provision in their final legislation.

Next Generation Researchers/National Institutes of Health

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes a key provision from Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan Next Generation Researchers Act to help invest in the future of research, science, and innovation. Senator Baldwin, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, advocated for legislative language to direct the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a comprehensive study and report on fostering the next generation of researchers. The study will evaluate current barriers for our new scientists, including the impact of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and recommend policies to improve opportunities for the next generation of researchers.

In October, Senator Baldwin and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan joined University of Wisconsin–Madison in hosting a roundtable with young and early-stage researchers. Senator Baldwin and Representative Pocan heard directly from early-career researchers, who are facing the worst funding for research in 50 years. The provisions in Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 will help meet this challenge.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 also includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, the largest increase for NIH since 2003.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative/Asian Carp

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes language from Senator Baldwin to invest in restoring and protecting the Great Lakes. Senator Baldwin introduced the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act (GLEEPA) in February and, as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and as a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, has advocated for strong federal funding for Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts. The legislation provides steady funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and includes provisions to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The bill incorporates language from GLEEPA to formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the first time and provides $300 million for the program, above the budget request which cut the program to $250 million. The bill also has provisions that direct the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite actions addressing the threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes basin, including directing the Corps to move faster on the GLMRIS Study of actions that could be deployed at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam.  

Trade Enforcement for Paper Companies

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Baldwin has worked to ensure to ensure Wisconsin’s paper manufacturers and their workers are able to compete on a level playing field. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes provisions led by Senator Baldwin to ensure enforcement of existing trade laws and take on unfair, foreign trade practices. The legislation will help Customs and Border Protection increase efforts and implement advanced methods to fight against illegal dumping of foreign paper products, especially products from China, into the United States to circumvent tariffs – ensuring fairness for American manufacturing.

9/11 First Responders Health Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 reauthorizes the World Trade Center Health Program through 2090 and the Victim Compensation Fund for an additional five years. Senator Baldwin has been an outspoken advocate in the decade-long fight to stand by our first responders who answered the call of duty on September 11th and to ensure Congress fulfills its moral obligation to provide our 9/11 heroes with the health care they deserve. This year, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the country in introducing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. During efforts to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, Senator Baldwin met with 9/11 first responders to discuss reauthorizing the WTC Health Program.

National Network for Manufacturing Institute (NNMI)

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully worked to include funding for an additional manufacturing institute in the National Networks for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The legislation also includes Senator Baldwin’s request to require the program to shift from mission-driven agency funded institutes towards open call solicitations from public-private partnerships.

Opioid Drug Abuse Prevention Funding

Senator Baldwin is a strong supporter of increased funding for opioid and prescription drug abuse prevention, treatment and research programs. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin led a call to strengthen federal investments to combat the growing prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic in America, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Prevention for States program. As a result of Senator Baldwin’s advocacy, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes robust funding for opioid abuse prevention efforts, including $70 million for CDC’s Prevention for States program. This investment allows CDC to strengthen and expand the program to all 50 states and develop safe opioid prescribing guidelines.

Drug Diversion at Veterans Health Administration Facilities

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully worked to include language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 that urges the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to maintain open communication with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and treat investigations of drug diversion in VHA facilities as a priority. DEA shall report to the Committee within 90 days after the enactment of this act on its drug diversion investigations involving VHA facilities and to report on the status of investigations on a quarterly basis thereafter.

The initial report shall include: the number of ongoing DEA drug diversion investigations into VHA facilities, the number of DEA drug diversion investigations into VHA facilities concluded in the prior year, an analysis of trends in DEA and VHA drug diversion investigations over the past 10 years, the number of investigations that resulted in indictments, a review of factors that may be leading to drug diversion including VHA prescription drug prescribing practices, and recommendations or best practices to prevent drug diversion from VHA facilities.

Littoral Combat Ship

Senator Baldwin is a champion of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which employs thousands of Wisconsinites and helps meet our national security needs. The LCS program has 2,000 direct jobs in Wisconsin alone and 93 Wisconsin companies supply parts and help build Littoral Combat Ships at Marinette Marine.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully worked to include procurement funding for three LCS in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. Earlier this year, she laid the ground work for that outcome by securing full funding for three LCS in both the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policy and authorizes spending levels for defense programs, and the Senate-version of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which passed out of committee this summer. These efforts follow Senator Baldwin’s work last year, when she also successfully secured funding for three LCS.

Additionally, this week Senator Baldwin called on President Obama to reject a harmful Pentagon proposal to reduce the LCS program in next year’s budget request and expressed her commitment to continue to fight for the program.

In August 2014, Senator Baldwin visited Marinette Marine to tour the shipyard. In November, Senator Baldwin delivered the principal address at the U.S. Navy commissioning ceremony for USS Milwaukee, a Littoral Combat Ship built in Wisconsin at Marinette Marine.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 reauthorizes and increases funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a win for Wisconsin communities across the state. As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Baldwin advocated for the highly-successful conservation program, which expired on September 30, 2015.  The bill includes funding for a LWCF project in Wisconsin as part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Military Facilities

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes language Senator Baldwin fought for to enhance security at military facilities in America. In July, Senator Baldwin introduced the Military Facilities Force Protection Act to better protect our men and women in uniform from the types of attacks that occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 16, 2015. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes $80 million for security upgrades, including those called for by Senator Baldwin’s Military Facilities Force Protection Act, such as enhanced surveillance cameras and ballistic protection. The Appropriations bill also contains language Senator Baldwin included to require the Department of Defense to report on completed and planned actions to improve site security as well as the funding needed for those actions.

The family of Marine Sergeant Carson Holmquist, a Wisconsin native who was tragically killed in the attack in Chattanooga, recently accepted a Purple Heart awarded in recognition of his service and sacrifice.

Small Shipyard Grant Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes $5 million in new investments for small shipyards. In April, Senator Baldwin continued her advocacy for Wisconsin’s small shipyards with a bipartisan call to renew the Small Shipyard Grant Program, which had not received funding in the last two years. As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Baldwin worked to breathe new life into this program to help small shipyards increase efficiency and capacity for shipping products made in America. The Small Shipyard Grant Program provides grants to small commercial shipyards to purchase equipment and train employees. The grants require that equipment purchased be made in America.

Firefighter Grants

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes a provision championed by Senator Baldwin to make robust investments to help Wisconsin’s first responders be better prepared for crude oil train derailments. Senator Baldwin, an outspoken leader in promoting oil train rail safety, previously called for these investments in April of 2015. Since then, multiple derailments in Wisconsin and across the country illustrated the need for increased funding for programs that firefighters can use to prepare for the growing threat of crude oil train shipments.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 provides a $10 million increase for the Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program, which helps first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public.

Supercomputing

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes language that Senator Baldwin, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, advocated for to invest in supercomputing. Cray Computing of Chippewa Falls will benefit from these provisions, which make critical investments in supercomputing and push to advance America’s computing infrastructure to support advanced research and maintain the United States’ role as a world leader in supercomputing.

Multiple provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 help to boost supercomputing in America, including a funding increase of $45,000,000 more than the President’s budget request for the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program. The High Performance Computing Modernization Program supports scientists and engineers in supercomputing resource centers.

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