U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today voted in support of the Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2012 that allows $6 million to be provided to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for voluntary buyouts of flood prone homes. It also allocates $1.2275 billion for research and treatment to help soldiers who sustain traumatic brain injuries, and $675 million for federal programs benefitting our community's fire departments.
"I'm glad that this bill does more than simply keep the federal government's doors open. The appropriations for voluntary buyouts for flood-prone homes and helping our soldiers who sustain traumatic brain injuries are important improvements over last year's Continuing Resolution and I'm pleased support this legislation as a result," said Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and House Budget Committee. "While this bill will keep the federal government's lights on, there's plenty that is missing. The House must return next week and pass provisions benefitting the middle class and job seekers -- specifically, the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance."
Homeowners who have experienced repetitive flooding will benefit from the appropriations for voluntary buyouts to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"The provision that Senator Lautenberg and I inserted into to the water funding legislation will help people who have endured severe flooding over and over again. We pledged to do everything we can to get people out of harm's way. By hacking through some of the bureaucratic red tape, additional federal funding is now available to homeowners in flood-prone areas," said U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, a co-chair of the Congressional Hurricane Irene Coalition.
Rep. Pascrell directed appropriations totaling $6 Million over the past several years for the Army Corps of Engineers' Passaic River Basin buyout project, in addition to the more than $50 million in FEMA flood mitigation funds for New Jersey's 8th District.
"We know that there is still much work to be done. But this $6 million in federal funds to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for voluntary buyouts in Wayne and Pompton Lakes will be a great help in people getting on with their lives in a safer place."
Rep. Pascrell, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, said the following statement with regard to the $1.227 appropriation for research and treatment to help our soldiers who sustain traumatic brain injury. This represents a $135.5 million increase in funding over the President's FY2012 Budget Request.
"Now that the war in Iraq has officially ended, we cannot forget those who served our country on deployments there as well as in Afghanistan," said Pascrell. "We must honor the contract we made with our brave men and women in uniform. They were willing to sacrifice everything for us. We must do everything we can provide them the treatment they need."
In May, Congressman Pascrell led 28 members in writing to the appropriations committee seeking additional funding for the Department of Defense to research and treat TBI.
Finally, Rep. Pascrell, who authored the 1999 federal legislation that established a direct lines of federal funding to our community fire departments across the nation, applauded the inclusion of $675 million for Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs. During debate on this legislation earlier in the year, Congressman Pascrell successfully argued for his amendment that increased funding for these programs by $320 million.
"Once again, Congress has realized that our public safety is a much greater priority than ideology and slash-and-burn budgeting tactics," said Pascrell. "Fire departments will continue to have the chance to compete for federal grants to help them get the equipment and staff they need to keep their communities as safe as possible."