Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger voted in favor of two bipartisan funding agreements that will have a far-reaching impact on the Second District and Maryland, home to 77 federal and military agencies as well as tens of thousands of government workers. The bill grants these employees a 3.1 percent pay raise and provides $294.5 million in new funding for defense-related projects here in Maryland.
Both bills passed the U.S. House of Representatives and are expected to soon be passed by the U.S. Senate.
“All Americans are counting on Congress to do our most basic job, which is passing full-year budgets with smart investments,” said Ruppersberger, who is an appropriator. “Here in Maryland, funding the government means funding jobs and ensuring tens of thousands of families can pay their bills. This legislation accomplishes this, while adding holiday bonuses such as historic Chesapeake Bay funding, millions for medical research and, for the first time in 20 years, funds to research gun violence.”
The two bills passed by the House of Representatives comprise all 12 bills needed to fund the government for fiscal year 2020 ― including eight in the domestic priorities and international assistance minibus, or H.R. 1865. That package includes many victories for Congressman Ruppersberger, such as unprecedented funding for Head Start, Title 1 schools and community block grants as well as a new federal ban on tobacco sales for anyone under 21. The bill also includes:
● $85 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program, a new record;
● $61 billion to renew our nation’s highways, bridges and ports including $21 million for the Baltimore Harbor and Channels;
● $1.5 billion for states to combat the opioid epidemic;
● $25 million to research our nation’s gun violence crisis.
The national security minibus, H.R. 1158, comprises the remaining four funding bills for 2020 and includes $444 million in increases to life-saving medical research programs – an issue that inspired Congressman Ruppersberger’s first run for public office in the late 1970s following a horrific car crash and long recovery at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Congressman Ruppersberger credits his survival to government investment in medical research. The new funding in H.R. 1158 will support cures for cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, ALS and other debilitating diseases.
The bill also provides $294.5 million in new funding for defense-related projects in Maryland, most of which are in the Second District, home to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Meade, two National Guard facilities and dozens of private-sector defense partners. Congressman Ruppersberger leveraged his role on the Appropriation’s Defense subcommittee to secure the new funding, most of which will support research and development to make American troops the safest and most effective on the battlefield.