The Senate Appropriations Committee, on Thursday announced the full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The bill contains $62.995 billion in funding for the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Justice, and independent agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other agencies.
Committee Chairman Alabama-Republican Sen. Richard Shelby said passage of the bill is a “vital step forward.”
“This bill is the result of bipartisan efforts by the Committee to achieve a careful balance between competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, economic development, scientific research, and space exploration,” said Shelby. “Passage of the measure is a vital step forward in providing critical funding for core programs that impact Alabama, as well as the entire nation. I look forward to consideration of this bill before the full Senate.”
The measure, which is $3.4 billion above the FY2018 enacted level, provides support for federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement grants, space exploration, basic science research, economic development programs, trade enforcement, and ocean observations and weather forecasting.
The legislation includes the following provisions impacting Alabama:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- $21.3 billion for NASA, $587 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $1.43 billion above the budget request.
- $2.15 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS).
- $35 million for additive manufacturing.
- $75 million for a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion demonstration no later than 2024.
- Language encouraging NASA to work with government, academic, and industry partners to establish a Virtual Institute for Aerospace Systems Engineering, with the goal of improving mission success and affordability.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
- $8.1 billion for NSF, $301 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $597 million above the request. Funding is provided for basic research across scientific disciplines to support the development of effective STEM programs.
- The bill provides $222 million above the FY2018 level for research and $13 million above FY2018 level for education activities. These funds will allow NSF to provide more grants to highly competitive research projects and help provide opportunities to prepare the next generation of STEM leaders.
- $177 million is provided for EPSCoR, an increase of $6 million above the FY2018 enacted level.
- $89.2 million is provided for the design and construction of three Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRV), with $60.5 million dedicated to the start of the third ship. By having three regional ships, the Gulf of Mexico and the East and West coasts will be able to have a dedicated RCRV to maximize research time in each of these regions.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC): Provides no less than the FY2018 level for TEDAC operations and allows for funding of additional staff as new phases of operations continue to come online.
- FBI’s Hazardous Devices School (HDS): Maintains full operational funding for the Hazardous Devices School. Funding also fully supports the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) explosives-related training operations.
- FBI Construction at Redstone: Provides critical funding for support of growing FBI presence at Redstone Arsenal.
Law Enforcement Grant Programs
- $2.87 billion for state and local law enforcement and crime prevention grant programs, which includes grants for state and local law enforcement, the Office on Violence Against Women, and juvenile justice programs.
- Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG): Provides $445 million for this comprehensive law enforcement grant program that assists police chiefs, district attorneys, and sheriffs.
- Anti-Opioid Initiative: Provides $360 million for programs that focus on prevention and education efforts, effective responses to those affected by substance abuse, and services for treatment and recovery from addiction.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- $5 million within NOAA for VORTEX-SE in collaboration with NSF to continue work on tornado formation studies in the southeast.
- $3 million for NOAA to implement the Seafood Import Monitoring Program.
- $40 million, a $4 million increase above the FY2018 enacted funding level, for the Northern Gulf Institute.
National Water Center (NWC)
- Provides, at a minimum, $19.25 million for activities at the NWC, and mandates NOAA to accelerate staffing at the center to achieve full operating capability.
Economic Development Administration (EDA)
- $305.5 million for EDA, including $117.5 million for its Public Works program, which supports brick-and-mortar projects in distressed communities across the nation.
- Funding for EDA also includes $25 million for the Regional Innovation Program, an increase of $4 million above the FY2018 level.
International Trade Administration (ITA)
- $499 million for ITA, which includes a $4 million increase above the FY2018 level for ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance business unit to self-initiate investigations of foreign actors suspected of violating trade laws.
The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.