WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), today announced the bipartisan approval of the annual spending package.
“The American taxpayers entrust Congress with their hard-earned dollars, and it’s up to us to ensure we are spending it well. Increasing defense spending, extending the flood insurance program and giving a raise to our troops are all important ways we are working to put Louisianans and Americans first,” said Sen. Kennedy.
Here are some of the highlights:
- A provision was included in the funding package to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until September, 30, 2020. While reforms are still needed to protect the program’s longevity and affordability, the program will be available to help insure Louisiana homeowners in event of a disaster.
- Each and every year, Louisiana families faithfully pay what taxes they owe to the federal government, while the federal government continues to be let off the hook for what they owe to Louisiana families. The U.S. Treasury is sitting on nearly $26 billion in unclaimed savings bonds that belong to the American people. Sen. Kennedy secured $25 million in funding for the U.S. Treasury Department to digitize and distribute records of unclaimed savings bonds.
- Sen. Kennedy included a provision in the funding bill that helps ensure that contractors who refuse to pay their taxes cannot bid for federal contracts until all delinquent taxes are paid in full.
- Sen. Kennedy helped secure $1.4 billion in funding and protected President Trump’s transfer authorities to continue construction of the southern border wall.
- In an attempt to protect the Mississippi River Delta wetlands, Senator Kennedy helped acquire $2 million to fund Roseau cane pest eradication research through the LSU AgCenter.
- To ensure adequate seafood standards, the FDA will receive $15 million for seafood import inspections, as well as $5 million for a new Imported Seafood Safety Pilot Program.
- Provisions were included to fully utilize all funds collected in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). The spending bill will provide $105 million for IWTF to fund projects on the inland waterways, while HMTF will receive $1.67 billion for the purpose of maintaining harbors.
- As a significant industrial user of natural gas as well as a significant supplier of it, Louisiana will receive $7 million for carbon capture research for natural gas power systems. In addition, the spending package will allocate $4 million for research of this technology for use at industrial facilities, which may include developments in process equipment and chemistry, capture of process emissions, and systems integration.
- As leading provider of Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program for K thru 12 teachers and students, the Cyber Innovation Center will receive $4.3 million in funding for development.
- The spending package contains a 3.1% pay raise for military personnel, which will be the largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
- In an effort to sustain flood mitigation, the Army Corps of Engineers will receive an additional $650 million for the construction of flood-resistant infrastructure.
- The spending package includes the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which will improve retirement security by making it easier for small employers to sponsor a single retirement plan for their workers. The bill also encourages employees to increase their retirement savings annually through automatic increases into their 401(k) plans.
- To make the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) less of an insider’s club that represents Wall Street instead of consumers, Sen. Kennedy pushed for a provision that caps board members’ compensation and places more distance between the board’s public representatives and their private sector ties.
- As chairman of the FSGG subcommittee, Sen. Kennedy included a provision in the funding bill that will prevent any agency under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction from signing onto public relations contracts over $5,000 without prior Congressional notification.