House Passes Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill Conference Report
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) applauded today's passage of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill conference report agreement, which makes critical investments to provide our troops with the resources they need at home and on the battlefield.
Passed by a vote of 395 to 34, the legislation provides funds to support current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and military efforts to combat terrorism. It also funds major weapons systems, combat vehicles, aircraft, military equipment and Navy shipbuilding. In addition, the legislation continues Congress' commitment to honoring our troops and their families by funding a military pay raise, substantial improvements in medical care and additional support and advocacy programs for military families. The legislation now awaits expected passage in the U.S. Senate.
"By passing the Defense Appropriations Bill, we are keeping our commitment to our troops and their families to take care of them, on and off the battlefield and, in doing so, truly thank them for their honorable service to our country," said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who sits on the Appropriations Committee. "I am particularly pleased the legislation provides a 3.4 percent pay raise for our military, first class medical care and strong support for family advocacy programs."
The legislation (HR 3326) also includes $6.3 million secured by the congresswoman for three important locally-based initiatives:
Go for Broke National Education Center
The congresswoman secured $1.5 million toward the construction of the Go For Broke National Education Center in the Little Tokyo area of Downtown Los Angeles at Temple and Alameda Streets. The new building will be headquarters for the Go For Broke National Education Center and stand adjacent to the Go For Broke Monument that the organization unveiled in 1999. Through an interactive educational experience, the center will offer teacher training and educational programming to thousands of visitors, keeping the legacy of Japanese American World War II veterans alive.
"It's a pleasure to work with the Go For Broke National Education Center in support of its mission to preserve for future generations the history of the Nisei veterans and their stories of bravery and sacrifice on behalf of our country," Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said.
USC's Military Social Work Web-based Teaching Program
The congresswoman also secured $3.2 million for the University of Southern California's innovative web-based teaching program for military social work. "I am extremely pleased to secure a second year of funding for USC's military social work program to address the immediate need for trained mental health professionals who understand the culture of the military," Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said. "USC's Military Social Work Program is designed to meet the mental health needs of our service men and women and their families, and is particularly important as soldiers experience longer deployments and service-related injuries that can be life-changing for them and their families."
California Enhanced Defense Small Manufacturing Suppliers Program
In addition, the congresswoman secured $1.6 million for the California Enhanced Defense Small Manufacturing Suppliers Program serving small businesses in the 34th District and the Southern California region. "I am excited about expansion of this program to better prepare small and medium-sized manufacturers in and around the 34th District to compete for defense contracts. The program will provide the Defense Department with the parts and equipment it needs to meet our nation's urgent defense requirements, while increasing efficiency, reducing costs, eliminating shortages and expanding suppliers," Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said.
The legislation also includes other significant provisions to continue needed assistance to strengthen our economy and communities, including programs that provide emergency relief to families hit by the recession:
* Unemployment Insurance: Extends expanded unemployment benefits, including increased payouts and longer duration of benefits, through February 28, 2010;
* Healthcare Premium Subsidy Extension: Extends through February 28, 2010 the 65% COBRA health insurance subsidy for individuals who have lost their jobs. The job lost eligibility date is also extended. Approximately seven million people benefited from the premium subsidy provided in the Recovery Act;
* Nutrition Assistance: Includes language ensuring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will have sufficient funding to meet the growing demand for nutrition assistance from modest-income families and provides $400 million in additional funding for state administrative expenses, to speed up processing of applications. SNAP participation increased 18% in the last year to over 37 million people;
* Assistance Eligibility: Freezes Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines at 2009 levels through February 28, 2010 in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for certain means-tested programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition;
* Small Business Loans: Allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue two temporary enhancements to its loan guarantee program through February 28, 2010 to make loans more attractive to borrowers and lenders and to free up capital, with one raising the percentage of loan amounts that the SBA can guarantee to 90%; the other allows it to waive or reduce loan fees. Small businesses represent a major engine for the U.S. economy, but many small business owners have had a difficult time securing needed loans in these tight economic times;