WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes (both D-MD) announced that four community development projects are one step closer to receiving federal funding with todays Appropriations Committee passage of the FY05 Veterans, Housing and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill. Senator Mikulski is the Senior Democrat on the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.
This years VA-HUD Appropriations bill also includes an additional $1.2 billion above the Presidents request for VA medical care in this years FY05 spending bill. The additional funding will ensure the VA does not charge Priority 7 and Priority 8 veterans an annual $250 enrollment fee. The additional funding will also keep Priority 7 and 8 veterans prescription drug co-payments to $7, instead of the $15 proposed by the Administration. The Senators also rejected limiting VA nursing homes to Priority 1 veterans.
As Ranking Member on the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, I put money in the federal checkbook to create jobs, build communities and protect the environment, said Senator Barbara A. Mikulski. I am so proud that this means $1,250,000 for Southern Maryland this year to revitalize neighborhoods, build learning centers and improve water sewer infrastructure. I will keep standing up in the U.S. Senate for the day-to-day needs of my constituents and the long-range needs of the nation.
Having my colleague, Senator Mikulski, at the helm of this Appropriations Subcommittee is critically important as we work to improve the lives and the day-to-day needs of people all across the State of Maryland, said Sarbanes. As a result of her diligent efforts, we will see enhanced care for our veterans; water infrastructure upgrades to help clean-up the Chesapeake Bay; and economic development projects throughout the State to improve our local communities and help create jobs.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (EDI) PROGRAM
EDIs, funded in the VA-HUD legislation, are granted on a competitive basis and must meet criteria set by Senator Mikulski and the Subcommittee Chairman, Senator Kit Bond (R-MO). Each project must create jobs or meet a compelling human need, benefit low- or moderate-income neighborhoods, eliminate physical or economic distress, and have a funding match from a non-federal source.
Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes secured federal funding for the following Southern Maryland projects through the EDI program:
· $250,000 for the Charles County Economic Development Commission to develop an Energetics Technology Center (ETC): a state-of-the-art research and development, training and learning center. This project will create jobs, improve education, foster local investment and provide a research and development facility for defense technology.
· $500,000 to St. Marys County to begin the Lexington Manor Northern Parcel Redevelopment Project. The project will improve housing conditions, reduce crime and create jobs by developing the area into a commercial and mixed-use development. This funding will go toward acquiring the necessary land and relocating residents.
The VA-HUD bill also includes federal funding for the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) for special needs water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes secured federal funding through STAG grants for the following programs in Southern Maryland.
· $250,000 for Chesapeake Beach water infrastructure improvements to help reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay.
· $250,000 for Indian Head water infrastructure improvements to help reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay.
In the next step of the appropriations process, the bill will move to the floor of the Senate for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled. Following the Senate vote, the House and
Senate will meet in conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The conference report will then be sent back to the floor of both Chambers of Congress for a vote. Once passed by the House and Senate, the VA-HUD Appropriations bill will be sent to the President for his signature.
Senator Mikulski serves on the Appropriations Committee and serves as Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies. Senator Sarbanes serves as Ranking Member on the Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee and serves on the Budget Committee.