WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on Wednesday released the following statement after U.S. Senate passage of the fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will support Connecticut priorities, make investments in gun violence prevention, increase access to mental health care, fund programs for under-resourced communities, promote national security, and make important reforms to the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

“Part of my job on the Appropriations Committee is making sure the budget we write funds Connecticut priorities. On top of the $236 million for local projects in Connecticut, this budget makes major investments in upgrading the Northeast Corridor, combating gun violence, supporting schools and under-resourced communities, and giving Connecticut manufacturers a major boost. It also includes my legislation to ensure the Housatonic River and the Highlands are protected for generations to come. This bill includes bipartisan mental health legislation I authored with a Republican colleague – reauthorizing and expanding many of the programs we created in 2016 – and also sends a clear signal that the United States remains steadfast in our support for the people of Ukraine, who have spent the last ten months at war,” said Murphy. 

Murphy added: “I’m also proud to have helped write the bipartisan legislation included in this bill that will reform the archaic process Congress uses to certify presidential elections and safeguard against future attempts to overturn the results of a fair election. Reforming the electoral count process won’t protect American democracy from all the threats we face, but it will help restore faith in our elections.”

Murphy, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, released a statement on the fiscal year 2023 Homeland Security bill. Murphy and Blumenthal applauded inclusion of $236 million for community-based projects in Connecticut, including over $100 million for 99 projects requested by Murphy and Blumenthal.

Some highlights of the omnibus appropriations bill:

Upgrading the Northeast Corridor: Building upon the $30 billion for the Northeast Corridor in the bipartisan infrastructure law, Murphy supported the inclusion of more funding to modernize rail in Connecticut, including:

  • $1.86 billion in funding opportunities to help modernize the Northeast Corridor, including:
    •  $1.26 billion for Amtrak improvements and operations on the Northeast Corridor.
    • $100 million for the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, to support major capital projects.
    • Nearly $500 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program to fund projects that improve safety, efficiency, and reliability of passenger rail.

Conserving Open Space and Protecting Small Farms in Connecticut: To protect more of Connecticut’s natural beauty and small farms, Murphy secured the following:

  • Passage of the Housatonic Wild and Scenic River Act which designates 41 miles of the Housatonic River as Wild and Scenic. Proposed by Murphy, this designation will make federal resources available to protect the river and to support recreation.
  • Passage of the Highlands Conservation Reauthorization Act, proposed by Murphy, to reauthorize the Highlands Conservation Act through fiscal year 2028. This reauthorization extends protections and provides $10 million to conserve 3.5 million acres of land in CT, NJ, PA, and NY.
  • New funding for agriculture disaster aid, which Senator Murphy advocated for in order to assist forage farmers who cannot access traditional crop insurance or disaster aid programs.
  • $7 million for the Acer Access and Development Program, which provides grants to maple syrup producers in Connecticut.
  • $918 million for the Natural Resource Conservation Service to support on-farm conservation, water quality, and soil health projects.

Protecting Retirement Savings: More and more, private equity firms looking to turn a quick profit are buying pension liabilities, transferring them to riskier investments, and removing important protections for pensioners and their retirement savings. To protect retirees from greedy corporations playing games with their pensions, Murphy secured the inclusion of his Pension Risk Transfer Accountability Act, which directs the U.S. Department of Labor, for the first time in almost thirty years, to review existing protections and guidance and to report its findings to Congress.

Protecting Long Island Sound: The Long Island Sound is a multi-trillion dollar asset to Connecticut, and Murphy secured the inclusion of federal funding to protect and support the health of the Sound, including:

  • $40.2 million to improve water quality, restore coastal habitats, and protect shoreline in Long Island Sound. This is an $8.6 million increase from last year and comes on top of the $106 million over five years that was allocated for this program in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • $6.35 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an increase of $323.9 million over last year, which includes funding for a number of programs that protect Connecticut coastlines and help manage our fisheries. The bill also includes an additional $657 million for disaster funding at NOAA that can support address the impacts of natural disasters on our coasts and fisheries. This includes the following increases Senator Murphy championed:
  • $32.5 million for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), a $2.8 million increase from last year. This account will fund the newly created NERRS in Southeastern Connecticut that Senator Murphy helped create and open earlier this year.
  • $19 million for NOAA aquaculture research, a $1 million increase from last year, that will help support the work of Milford Lab.
  • $80 million – a $4 million increase – for the National Sea Grant College Program and $14  million for Sea Grant Aquaculture Research.

Combating Gun Violence: Murphy successfully fought to secure funding for gun violence prevention efforts, including:

  • $50 million for a Community-based Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program at the Department of Justice. This is on top of the $250 million over five years that Senator Murphy secured for this work in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
  • $25 million for gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.
  • $125 million for the FBI’s operation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This is on top of the $100 million that Senator Murphy secured for NICS in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
  • $95 million for grants to states to upload criminal and mental health records to NICS on top of the $200 million for the same purposes in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Investing in Mental Health: Murphy, a leader in the Senate on expanding access to mental health care, supported the inclusion of:

  • $191.1 million for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, an increase of $5.6 million from FY22, to strengthen oversight over mental health parity laws.
  • $1.01 billion for Mental Health Block Grants, a $150 million increase over FY22.
  • $25 million for Graduate Psychology Education, a $5 million increase over FY22.
  • $55.877 million for Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration.

Supporting Under-Resourced Communities: Murphy supported the inclusion of federal funding to support historically under-resourced communities and address education, economic, and health disparities, including:

  • $18.4 billion for Title I Grants, an increase of $850 million over last year, to help school districts that serve a significant number of students living in poverty.
  • $15.2 billion for IDEA Part B State Grants, representing an increase of $904 million over last year, to help schools provide services to students with disabilities.
  • $20.3 billion for early childhood education programs, representing an increase of $2.8 billion over last year, which includes $12 billion for Head Start (an increase of $960 million), $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (an increase of $1.85 billion), and $315 million for Preschool Development Grants (an increase of $25 million).
  • Raising the maximum Pell Grant award by $500 to $7,395, which represents the largest increase in more than a decade to help low-income students afford postsecondary education.
  • $129 million for the Magnet School Assistance Program, a $15 million increase, to support the creation of diverse and high-quality magnet schools.
  • $1.3 billion for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a $40 million increase, to support the creation of community learning centers that provide after-school and summer enrichment opportunities for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.
  • $1.4 billion for Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, in addition to the $1 billion provided in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, to provide all students with a well-rounded education and support safe and inclusive school climates. 
  • $8 million to the CDC to address health disparities and inequities around the Social Determinants of Health.
  • $19.516 million for SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program to help expand the number of racial and ethnic minorities in the behavioral health workforce, an increase of $3.347 million over FY22.
  • $400 million for Juvenile Justice program at the Department of Justice, a $40 million increase from last year.
  • $560 million for the Legal Service Corporation, a $71 million increase over last year. The bill also includes $20 million to provide emergency legal aid in the wake of recent natural disasters.  
  • $30.2 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance to continue to serve very low- and extremely low-income households nationwide and $14.9 billion for Project-based Rental Assistance, an increase of $1 billion above FY22.
  • $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which will lead to the construction of nearly 10,000 new rental and homebuyer units.
  • $3.63 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, an increase of $420 million above FY22.
  • $14.1 billion for the Social Security Administration’s administrative expenses, an increase of $785 million over FY22—the largest increase in more than a decade. This supports the administration of Social Security benefits for over 70 million Americans, including processing over 8 million retirement and disability claims annually.

Partnering with Connecticut’s Defense Manufacturers: Murphy supported federal funding that will benefit Connecticut’s defense and manufacturing industries, including: 

  • $4.5 billion for full funding for two Virginia Class fast attack submarines.
  • $3.1 billion for full funding for the Columbia Class ballistic missile submarine
  • $1.8 billion in additional funding for the F-35 program to restore nineteen total aircraft.
  • $1.7 billion in additional funding for sixteen C-130J aircraft, to modernize 2 Air National Guard operational units.
  • $570 million for ten additional Combat Rescue Helicopters to restore production to a total of twenty aircraft, in line with the previous year’s plan.
  • $273 million for ten additional UH-60M aircraft for the Army National Guard.
  • $250 million for two additional CH-53K heavy lift aircraft.
  • $220.4 million for the Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion program.
  • $200 million for additional funding for F135 engine spares.
  • $60 million in additional funding for C-130H 8-Bladed Propeller Upgrade (NP2000).
  • $25 million in additional funding for Academic Partnerships for Submarine & Undersea Vehicle Research & Manufacturing.
  • $20 million in additional funding for Small Satellite Tech.
  • $20 million in additional funding for Versatile Rotary Engine Systems.
  • $15 million in additional funding for Digital Enterprise Technology for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.
  • $13 million in additional funding for laser metal deposition powder for turbine engine component restoration.
  • $10 million in additional funding for Multi-Mission Helicopter Upgrade Development.
  • $9.5 million in additional funding for Emergency Power and Cooling Technology Demonstration.
  • $8.5 million in additional funding for Precision maneuvering units.
  • $8 million in additional funding for Deployable Surveillance Systems: Deep Water Active.
  • $4 million in additional funding for Lunar Surface Based Situational Awareness Network.
  • $5 million in additional funding for laser peening of jet engines.
  • $3 million in additional funding for Next Generation Digital Design and Manufacturing for U.S. Army Combat Vehicles.
  • $3 million in additional funding for Innovative Biomaterials for Combat Wound Care.

Sending Aid to Ukraine: Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported $45 billion in funding for the people of Ukraine, bringing the total amount of emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine to $112.3 billion since Russia’s invasion in February. The new funding in the Omnibus Appropriations bill includes:

  • $11.9 billion to replenish U.S. military equipment provided to Ukraine.
  • $9.3 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to bolster the Ukrainian military.
  • $6.98 billion for U.S. European Command operations in support of Ukraine and NATO Allies.
  • $13.37 billion in economic assistance, including budgetary support for the Government of Ukraine.
  • $2.47 billion in humanitarian assistance, including funding for emergency food assistance and health care, as well as support for refugees fleeing Ukraine and other vulnerable populations.
  • $2.4 billion to support the resettlement and other support services for Ukrainian arrivals and refugees through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • $166 million for the Department of State and USAID in support of their response to the situation in Ukraine.
  • $126.3 million to prepare for and respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine.
  • $50 million for USAID’s Food for Peace program.
  • $13.5 million for the Department of State and USAID Inspector General, $6 million for the Department of Defense Inspector General, and $7.5 million for the Government Accountability Office to conduct oversight and end-use monitoring of equipment sent to Ukraine. 

Supporting the People of Puerto Rico: The funding package includes historic investments to support the people of Puerto Rico, by:

  • Extending the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Puerto Rico through the end of 2027 at 76%, which will help Puerto Rico avert its Medicaid funding cliff. This would permit the largest-ever allocations to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program in history.
  • Providing additional funding for disaster relief and preparedness, including $1 billion to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s energy grid.

Promoting Progressive Foreign Policy and National Security: Murphy also supported the inclusion of funding to support global health and climate change mitigation efforts, invest in the Development Finance Corporation, and provide increased assistance to important allies and strategic priorities. The bill includes:

  • $1 billion for the Development Finance Corporation to invest in development overseas, an increase of $302 million over FY22.
  • $2 billion to address the climate crisis and other environmental issues.
  • $10.5 billion to invest in global health and the prevention of future pandemics, an increase of $670 million from FY22. This includes $900 million for global health security, a $200 million increase from FY22, to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
  • $1.51 billion for International Security Cooperation Programs, a $200 million increase from FY22.
  • $500 million for Israeli cooperative research and development programs, a $200 increase from FY22, including modernization of Israel’s Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense Program and Arrow-3.
  • Increased assistance for Ukraine, Lebanon, and the West Bank and Gaza.
  • $225 million for the Baltic Security Initiative, an increase of $69.5 million, and an additional $153 million for security cooperation programs, with a particular focus on critical European allies in light of Russia’s continued aggression.

Implementing Billy’s Law: Murphy secured $3.6 million for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, an increase of nearly $1 million from last year. NAMUS is a federally run clearinghouse for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons.