Congressman Tim Ryan Applauds Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation-HUD and Agriculture Funding Bills
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) applauded the passage of the House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill and the Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA appropriations bill. Both passed the full Committee today.
The Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill funds several of his priorities, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), National Infrastructure Investments (BUILD grants), and hyperloop technology. Congressman Ryan also obtained $500,000 to create an improved system for studying and tracking blighted structures in America. By securing this language in this bill, government and academic researchers will have accurate new data sets to monitor the number of blighted structures at the neighborhood level. This will help policymakers target resources where they are most needed and indicate where public-private partnerships might have the greatest effect.
The Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA appropriations bill also funds key priorities of Congressman Ryan, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, land-grant colleges and universities, school kitchen equipment, and the National Organic Program.
“I’m thrilled about what the Transportation-HUD bill and the Agriculture bill are bringing to Northeast Ohio. From investing in our infrastructure, improving how we track blight, supporting our farmers, and funding agricultural research, these are key priorities that will revitalize our communities and ensure every person has access to healthy, fresh food,” said Congressman Ryan. “When it comes to CDBG and BUILD grants, that means job creation, lifestyle transformation, and economic development for our district. When it comes to SNAP, funding for school kitchen equipment, and addressing the stress of our farmers and ranchers, that means more children being fed with healthy food and more support for the men and women who grow our food. These vital programs and initiatives need robust funding. I’m proud to have used my position on the House Appropriations Committee to secure this funding and ensure the needs of Northeast Ohioans are taken care of.”
FY2020 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
- HUD housing data obtained from the U.S. Postal Service – United States Postal Service letter carriers currently collect information on the current status of every address (for example, whether the house or building is vacant). That information is then shared with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Anonymized data from HUD is then made available to researchers studying vacancies and blight. Unfortunately, deficiencies in the way the data is collected and categorized make inhibit the usefulness of the data. Congressman Ryan’s provision would provide $500,000 to HUD for the purpose of working with the Postal Service to improve data collection so that the data can accurately tracking vacancies and blight at the neighborhood level.
- $3.6 Billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – The Committee provided $3.6 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula program, which is $300 million over the FY 2019 enacted level. CDBG provides funding to state and local governments and other eligible entities to carry out community and economic development activities.
- $1 Billion for National Infrastructure Investments (BUILD) – The Committee provided $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (BUILD) grants to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure, which is $100 million over the FY 2019 enacted level. BUILD grants are awarded on a competitive basis to state and local governments, transit agencies, port authorities, and metropolitan planning organizations for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. Kent, Akron and Youngstown have all received BUILD Grants (or their predecessor, TIGER Grants).
- $5 million for Hyperloop Technology – The Committee provided $5 million to assist the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council in developing and establishing Department-wide processes, solutions, and best practices for identifying and managing non-traditional and emerging transportation technologies and projects, including hyperloop technology. Hyperloop is an emerging transportation concept that has the potential to improve safety, alleviate congestion, shorten commute times, expand mobility for rural and urban communities, and enable a more efficient flow of commercial goods.
FY2020 Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA Funding Bill
- Fully funds Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program – $71.1 billion for SNAP and $6 billion for WIC
- Full funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) – The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) was authorized in Section 7412 of the 2018 Farm Bill to provide farmers with affordable stress assistance programs. Farming can be a stressful occupation given the volatility of weather, markets, and disease. Farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers have the highest rate of suicide than the general population. It is vital we fully fund this Farm Bill program to ensure farmers have access to mental health services.
- Increases funding for land-grant colleges and universities – Through extension programs, land-grant colleges and universities bring vital, practical information to agricultural producers, small business owners, consumers, families, and young people. Various grants support universities’ research on all aspects of agriculture including soil and water conservation, plant and animal protection, and sustainable agriculture. Expanding funding for these grants is vital to the continuation of this research.
- Language to encourage the USDA to coordinate better among their 5 nutrition education programs and to provide a report to Congress – The Committee commends the USDA for the important role they play in offering nutrition education and training through programs such as SNAP-Ed, EFNEP and WIC. However, the Committee is concerned regarding the lack of communication and coordination between the five main nutrition education programs (SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, Team Nutrition, WIC, and FINI) at USDA. The Committee directs the USDA to report to the Committee of Appropriations of both Houses of Congress within 90 days of the enactment of this act about steps USDA will take to better coordinate nutrition education, utilize experts from CNPP in the Dietary Guidelines development, and track program effectiveness across each program.
- Fully funded WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP)– When the WIC FMNP program was created in 1992, it was the first Federal program of its kind, with the intent of making fresh fruits and vegetables available to low income shoppers. Today, the need for the program remains as research shows that all Americans, particularly those with low incomes, need more fruits and vegetables in their diets. In FY 2016, the program provided an estimated 67 million servings of fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables to low income pregnant women and children that to which they may not have otherwise had access. For recipients, WIC FMNP establishes healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.
- Grants for School Kitchen Equipment – These competitive grants go to local education agencies and schools to modernize their kitchens and to update essential equipment needed to prepare foods (e.g. replacing fryers with combination steamer-ovens). This enables schools to serve healthier more nutritious meals and to improve food safety. Research shows that over 88% of schools across the country need at least one piece of updated school kitchen equipment.
- Increase for National Organic Program – The National Organic Program is responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. With the increase of organic sales and production, it is important this program is fully funded in order to keep up with the growing demand of organic products including the ability to enhance enforcement procedures.