Last night, Congressional negotiators unveiled a final spending plan for the federal government for fiscal year 2014. The plan allocates specific funding amounts for the budget deal passed by Congress last month. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the statement below regarding the spending plan:
"While this agreement is not perfect, I'm pleased that it secures funding for some important Rhode Island priorities. For example, it will provide funding for submarine construction programs that are an important source of jobs at Electric Boat in Quonset. It also increases funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which so many Rhode Islanders count on during the winter months, makes an important down payment on aid to fishermen who have been hurt by depleted fish stocks, preserves Pell Grant funding, and provides homeowners with flood insurance rate relief for one year. There is still more we need to do to invest in programs that will create jobs for Rhode Island workers, but this spending plan is a step in the right direction."
Specific funding allocations in the bill include:
Over $6 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program to support the 10 boat multi-year contract. It also fully funds R&D for the Ohio-class submarine replacement program and the continuation of the Virginia Payload Module.
$75 million for fisheries disasters declared since 2012.
$265 million for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, which Bradley Hospital could be eligible to receive funding from thanks to legislation written by Senator Whitehouse and passed by the Senate last year. That bill must still pass the House of Representatives before Bradley becomes officially eligible.
$5 million for multiple sclerosis research at the Department of Defense, which Senator Whitehouse led a letter advocating for last year.
$600 million for a new round of TIGER grants, which have previously helped fund a number of major infrastructure projects in Rhode Island ($22.3 million for infrastructure upgrades at the Quonset Business Park, $10.5 million for the Port of Providence, $10 million for the I-95 Viaduct in Providence, and $10 million for the Apponaug Circulator in Warwick).