Press Releases

CBC Chairman Statement on House Passage of the FY 2018 Spending Bill

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Washington, March 22, 2018 | comments

Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), released the following statement on House passage of the FY 2018 spending bill.

“Today, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that funds our government through the end of the fiscal year and provides meaningful investments across the country and around the world. I am proud of all 48 members of the Congressional Black Caucus who worked hard on various congressional committees to secure funding for policies and programs that help all communities – rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural. Some of the key investments included in the bill are:

  •  A $610M increase for Head Start and a $2.37B increase for Child Care and Development Block Grant program, putting the latter program at its highest funding level in history;
  •  $5.4B for Community Health Centers ($335M more than last year’s level), which provide critical health care services in low-income communities;
  •  Robust funding for our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and the students they serve, namely –
    •  $280M for HBCU’s under Title III, a $35M increase over last year’s funding level;
    •  $30M for the HBCU Capital Finance program, which helps modernize these historic institutions, including an additional $10M to provide relief for vulnerable institutions;
    • $1B for TRIO ($60M over last year’s level) and $350M for GEAR UP ($10M more than last year’s level), both of which provide support services and grant funding to disadvantaged students to promote achievement in postsecondary education;
  •  Billions of dollars to improve our nation’s transportation systems, including $2.525B in new funding for highway grants; $800M in new funding for transit grants; $1B increase for TIGER grants, a $232M increase for Capital Investment Grants, and a $446.6M increase for Amtrak;
  •  $3.6B for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program ($250M more than last year’s level), which helps poor people stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer;
  •  $2.8B for the Census Bureau, which is critically important to ensuring the 2020 Census accurately portrays the ever-changing demographics of our nation;
  •  $93M to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals into our communities, $5M more than last year’s funding level;
  •  More than $6M for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which is expected to fully support the estimated need of the program;
  •  $250M for Community Development Financial Intuitions ($236M above the President’s request), which drive private investment into underserved communities;
  •  $145M to support apprenticeship programs, a $50M increase over last year’s funding level, which will help prepare America’s workers for the work of the future;
  •  $19.6B for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance ($1.25B more than last year’s level), a program that helps families afford rising housing costs;
  •  $678M for Housing for the Elderly ($175.6M more than last year’s level), which helps one of our most vulnerable populations – elderly individuals – access affordable housing;
  •  $39M for the Minority Business Development Agency ($5M more than last year’s funding level), the sole agency dedicated to the growth and expansion of minority-owned business;
  •  $78M for Promise Neighborhoods, $5M above last year’s level, which combines high-quality education with community and family-based support to provide continuous services from the cradle through college, and into a career.
  •  $2.513B for Homeless Assistance Grants ($130M more than last year’s level), which provide much-needed funding for states, localities, and non-profits to address the crisis of homelessness in communities across the country; and
  •  $6.8B for the Army Corps of Engineers ($789M more than last year’s funding level), which helps protect communities from the harms of natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.

“These and many other investments included in the spending will help countless Americans struggling in the face of rising wage and wealth inequality. However, the Congressional Black Caucus remains concerned about a number of provisions that were either included or failed to be addressed in this must-pass vehicle.

“First, the CBC strongly opposes an antiquated policy rider that prohibits the use of federal funds for transportation or other efforts to integrate public schools. Reports show that schools are more racially segregated than they were in the middle of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The time has long passed to strip this racially-motivated policy rider from government spending bills.

“Second, the CBC has serious concerns about the chilling effect of the Dickey Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funding to advocate gun control policies. Congress took an important first step in referencing the previous statement by the Secretary of Health and Human Services that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has the authority to research the causes of gun violence. However, Congress must do more to address this crisis. The CBC continues to support legislation to study the role of mental health in gun violence, as well as the effects of gun violence on minority health.

“Lastly, the CBC was extremely disappointed that Congressional Leaders included a provision to reverse a longstanding, 40-year-old policy that makes clear that tips are the property of the workers who own them.

“The Congressional Black Caucus will continue to fight for justice and equality for all communities on these issues and many more, including voting rights, criminal justice reform, and economic empowerment.”                                                                                                                                
Much-needed funding to help ensure the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, is not repeated, including $1.163B for the Safe Drinking Water Fund ($300M above last year’s funding level) and $50M for three new grant programs to address lead in drinking water, $20M of which will help schools perform lead testing;
Much-needed funding to help ensure the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, is not repeated, including $1.163B for the Safe Drinking Water Fund ($300M above last year’s funding level) and $50M for three new grant programs to address lead in drinking water, $20M of which will help schools perform lead testing;
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