CONCORD — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said key Senate panels advanced money bills that should mean millions more for New Hampshire projects on environmental protection, fishing, first responders, foreign policy and other initiatives.
Meanwhile, the entire delegation Monday celebrated the earmark of $4.7 million in New Hampshire grants for higher education and high technology to work on ways to translate the lessons of the opioid epidemic to medical practice in the real world.
Shaheen is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the lead Democrat on the working group that produces spending bills for the departments of commerce, justice and related agencies.
“I’m very pleased that the bill approved by the Appropriations Committee includes significant investments that speak to issues we’re facing in New Hampshire, but also as a nation and a leader in our global community,” Shaheen said.
“Prioritizing federal support to expand mental health services for law enforcement, boost funding for anti-opioid grants and devote resources to keep our firefighters safe are critical in New Hampshire but also impact communities throughout the nation.”
Here are some examples of federal spending bills that could benefit NH projects:
• Firefighter protective equipment: This bill includes $2 million for research into first responder equipment and the risks of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Shaheen is sponsoring legislation with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to address occupational exposure to PFAS chemicals.
• Record spending for Violence Against Women Act: This is the third year in a row Shaheen has set a record for these grants, this time totaling $500 million.
• Fishing relief, ocean research: Shaheen has fought the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from imposing a costly monitoring fee for Granite State fishermen. This bill includes $10.3 million to cover that fee along with $7.5 million for research regarding lobsters, groundfish and the highly-endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. She also secured a $7 million funding increase for Sea Grant, which is made up of 33 Sea Grant programs nationwide including a program based at UNH.
• Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): This $30 million increase in the program to $465 million that preserves lands for national parks, forests and recreational areas and has been used many time to protect New Hampshire properties.
• Pediatric cancer related to PFAS: This bill gives the Environmental Protection Agency $20 million to help states address contamination and Shaheen authored language urging the agency to move quickly on Superfund sites that have emerging contaminants such as PFAS.
On foreign policy, Shaheen got $276 million into a Countering Russian Influence Fund that deals with the threat of Russian influence throughout Europe and also co-wrote an amendment to give states $250 million to prevent election interference from foreign actors. She also worked to continue the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program that would aid an additional 4,000 interpreters who aided U.S. service members and diplomats.
The additional opioid addiction money for the state is through the National Institutes of Health and its Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative.
The goal is to test new approaches to treat chronic pain while reducing the rates of opioid use disorder and overdoses, the all-Democratic congressional delegation said in a joint statement.
Dartmouth College will receive $4.3 million for medical research while Q2i, a Boston-based, health care technology company, will research ways to prevent addiction.
“Combating the devastating opioid epidemic in our state requires innovative approaches to treatment, prevention, and recovery – and that’s exactly why these federal grants are critical,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH.
“As families and communities across our state continue to work to address substance misuse, I will keep fighting in the Senate for federal funding like this.”