Pascrell Highlights Budget Victories
Budget package includes increased support for CDC, firefighters, Social Security, and other priorities important to New Jersey families
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) voted in favor of the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Defense Budget for Fiscal Year 2019.
“Not many serious people can object to giving more support to the CDC, Social Security, firefighters, medical research, and low-income Americans struggling to pay bills. So the passage of today’s budget is a win for New Jersey families,” said Rep. Pascrell. “And Democrats were successful in removing harmful poison pill riders that would have rolled back health protections, especially for women, and rejecting nearly $10 billion in proposed cuts from Donald Trump.
Pascrell continued, “But I would be remiss if I did not mention the reckless priorities of this Republican Congress. A study yesterday noted that the GOP Tax Scam Republicans are seeking to jam into law this week will add roughly $4 trillion to national debt over the next 20 years, $5 trillion with interest – on top of the deficit created by the first GOP Tax Scam. The passage of these important funding packages today is a stark illustration of what Congress should be doing. Unfortunately, Republicans have largely wasted the last two years seeking to enrich the one percent at the expense of the middle class and Americans have nothing to show for it except division and debt.”
CDC and firefighters
$7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This represents a $125 million increase over the FY 2018 enacted level for CDC’s public health programs and activities. It also includes $1 million to start implementing the Firefighter Cancer Registry. In July, Rep. Pascrell’s Firefighter Cancer Registry Act was signed into law. The law requires the CDC to create a national cancer registry for firefighters to monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and toxins and the incidence of cancer in firefighters so to develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.
$2.3 billion for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, a good total given past cuts to the program and Donald Trump’s threats to slash support for HIV prevention, viral hepatitis prevention, STD prevention, and the Ryan White programs. Rep. Pascrell has been one of Congress’s strongest supporters of Ryan White and all domestic HIV programs. Over 37,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS in New Jersey, which ranks among the highest in the nation for overall cumulative HIV cases. Pascrell has consistently led the funding request for Ryan White and domestic HIV programs. While Mayor of Paterson, Pascrell served as chairman of the Paterson-Passaic-Bergen HIV Planning Council during the early years of the Ryan White Program.
$12.9 billion for the Social Security Administration’s operating budget. This represents a substantial increase in funding for SSA’s operating expenses in comparison to the FY 2018 enacted level. In his time in Congress, Rep. Pascrell has been an unswerving defender of Social Security, and has helped block ceaseless Republican attempts to gut it or privatize the program, most recently beating back attempts by the House GOP to make deep Social Security cuts to fill deficit canyons created by the GOP Tax Scam.
Traumatic Brain Injury
$125 million for the Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program, a funding level that matches Pascrell’s request, as well as $6.75 million for the TBI Act programs, which is also consistent with what Pascrell called for. The bill also encourages the Secretary of Defense to conduct research on the effects of blast exposure on the brain, which follows Pascrell’s proposed amendment that would have required blast exposure history to be included in the service records of members of the armed forces. Rep. Pascrell has long been Congress’s foremost leader in support of traumatic brain injury research. Pascrell is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Traumatic Brain Injury Caucus.
$4.4 billion to respond to the opioid crisis. This includes $5 million in new funding to the CDC for HIV and hepatitis prevention relating to the opioid crisis. Congressman Pascrell has joined his colleagues in working to stanch the opioid epidemic plaguing every community in America. His bipartisan legislation, the Alternatives to Opioids Act will provide funding to reduce the use of opioids in emergency departments and other care settings.
$1.9 billion for Refugee and Entrant Assistance accounts, which is $40.3 million more than the FY 2018 enacted levels. Rep. Pascrell has been one of the foremost champions in the House fighting back against the Trump administration’s cruel cutbacks to refugee admissions, repeatedly leading his colleagues in calling on Trump to increase support for the neediest refugees and asylum seekers.
Energy assistance to needy families
$3.7 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This represents a raise of $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. Rep. Pascrell has long fought price-gouging by energy companies and has been a strong supporter of the LIHEAP program that is available to hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families that need help shouldering high energy costs.
NIH and BRAIN Initiative
$39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health. This represents an increase of $2 billion to support research to improve the prevention, treatment, and cures to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, all kinds of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as chronic diseases and emerging infectious epidemics. This also includes an increase of $29 million for the BRAIN Initiative, a program aimed at revolutionizing and accelerating our understanding of the human brain. Pascrell led the funding request to support this important program.
International Labor Affairs Bureau
$86 million for the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB). This represents level funding, but is a far departure from the President’s proposal to cut ILAB by over $67 million. Pascrell leads the funding request for this important agency that that oversees anti-human trafficking initiatives, strengthens labor standards, and combats international child and forced labor.
The conference report includes language to hold the Trump administration accountable for its cruel policy of family separation at the border, including directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a family reunification plan to Congress, as well as funding for trauma counseling services for separated children. These and other provisions increase transparency and oversight of HHS and help provide care and services to children in HHS custody. Rep. Pascrell has been unstinting in demanding the Trump administration cease its family separation policies and abandon its wrongheaded so-called “zero tolerance” immigration schemes.
The conference report includes language which stops the Trump administration from preventing a Member of Congress from entering facilities that maintain custody of or house unaccompanied alien children. On Father’s Day 2018, Rep. Pascrell and six other Democratic Members of Congress made a surprise visit to the ICE Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey and demanded to see the parents of families separated by the Trump administration’s grotesque immigration policies.
Select Defense Programs Funded
$606.5 billion for base spending and $67.8 billion on the Defense Department programs, which is $17 billion above base spending and $2.6 billion above what was allocated in FY 2018. This includes $150.7 billion for Military Personnel, which is $4.9 billion more than the FY 2018 enacted level and $2.1 billion below Trump’s request. This funding will increase end strength by 15,600 active and 800 Guard/Reserve, and increase military pay 2.6 percent, which was the requested level.
$500 million for the Israeli Missile Defense Cooperative program, which is equal to the request, and $200 million below the enacted level. This conforms to the memorandum of understanding between the United States and Israel. The bill also includes $47.5 million for the U.S.-Israeli Joint Anti-Tunneling Research Technology Initiative which is equal to the FY 2018 enacted level and $47.5 million above the request. In the House, Rep. Pascrell has been a staunch supporter of Israel since entering the chamber and remains committed to providing her with the resources she needs to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish state.
$250 million for Ukraine, which is $50 million more than the FY 2018 enacted level. A longtime friend of Ukraine, Rep. Pascrell supports strong U.S. aid to our Ukrainian ally to help the Eastern Europe state fight back against continued Russian aggression and meddling and has pushed both Presidents Obama and Donald Trump to take a harder line to stand up for Ukrainian security. Pascrell represents a vibrant Ukrainian-American community, which he interacts with regularly.
$426 million for the GPS IIIC RDT&E program, which is part of the fundamental infrastructure supporting our Armed Forces. Weapons systems, including precision strike munitions and our maneuvering combat forces depend on the precise navigation and timing provided continuously by GPS satellites. Rep. Pascrell’s district is home to the Harris New Jersey Corporation, which has a facility in Clifton and is a subcontractor of this and related defense programs.