WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget that supports a wide range of critical Maine and national priorities, in addition to global security challenges. The bipartisan legislation, which passed by a vote of 68 to 31, includes significant support for Ukraine as it continues to beat back Russia’s unprovoked invasion. The budget also includes essential funding to strengthen national defense – including funds for two DDG-51s that Bath Iron Works can compete to build – and money for key King-backed domestic priorities that will support public health and boost the American economy.
“This legislation is a series of critical investments in the challenges facing people throughout Maine and across the nation,” said Senator King. “The package includes vital funding to support America’s national security, from purchasing critical equipment built right here in Maine to hardening our defenses in cyberspace. It appropriates the resources required to strengthen our nation’s health by securing progress made on important new tools including telehealth and confronting crises like the sharp increase in overdoses afflicting Maine communities. These provisions – along with others to bolster our economy, care for our communities, and address our energy needs – make this legislation a vital step forward that will improve our nation in the year ahead.
“Perhaps most urgently, the legislation responds to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine,” said Senator King. “The package’s funding for Ukraine includes much-needed investments to strengthen Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression, restock equipment already transferred to aid their security, and billions in humanitarian support to address the horrific and needless suffering of millions across Ukraine. We continue to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, who are fighting to defend their country and their freedom from Putin’s brutal, unprovoked invasion.”
The package included $13.6 billion in emergency funding to support the Ukrainian people and defend global democracy in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The bill provides almost $7 billion to provide military assistance, bolster European Command mission support, and replenish US stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine through drawdown. In addition, the package provides $7 billion for humanitarian aid, refugee assistance, and support for the Ukrainian people affected by Putin’s war.
Victories secured by Senator King in the FY22 omnibus legislation include:
- FUNDING SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. The legislation appropriates funding for the procurement of 2 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2022, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. The package also funds advanced procurement of a third DDG-51, and requires a report regarding the next round of multiyear procurement for Navy shipbuilding programs. In addition, the package includes $625 million for Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan projects.
- STRENGTHENING CYBERSECURITY. The budget provides $2.6 billion to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity, prevent cyberattacks and protect our nation’s critical infrastructure. As co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King has led the charge to prioritize America’s cyberdefenses.
- ENACTING INCIDENT REPORTING LEGISLATION. The Omnibus includes the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act, vital legislation that requires critical infrastructure owners and operators and civilian federal agencies to report to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) if they experience a substantial cyberattack within 72 hours. Senator King is a cosponsor of the legislation, which passed the Senate earlier this month and will significantly enhance our nation’s ability to combat ongoing cybersecurity threats against our critical infrastructure and the federal government.
- INCREASING ACCESS TO RURAL BROADBAND. The legislation appropriates $536 million in additional funding for rural broadband including the ReConnect broadband and loan program, grants for telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas, and investments in community broadband and middle mile broadband deployment.
- ADVANCING COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. The bill provides over $370 million for community economic development through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a $28 million increase above fiscal year 2021. This includes $120.5 million for Public Works grants, $37.5 million for Economic Adjustment Assistance grants, and $45 million for the Regional Innovation Program.
- EXTENDING TELEHEALTH FLEXIBILITIES POST-PANDEMIC. The legislation extends telehealth flexibilities that are currently tied to the pandemic for five months after the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE); without this extension, the policies that have enabled the rapid rise of telehealth would expire with the existing PHE. Senator King urged this continuation in January, and will continue to advocate for permanent expansions.
- BOLSTERING TAX ENFORCEMENT. The legislation appropriates $400 million in additional funding over FY21 levels, for a total of more than $12.3 billion. Senator co-led the effort asking for robust funding of the IRS, and has been a leading voice on providing the IRS with the resources that it needs to catch tax cheaters.
- COMBATTING CLIMATE CRISIS. The legislation provides $78.3 million across the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address the impacts of climate change. These investments aim to tackle climate crisis in farming and rural communities, and include research to monitor, measure, and mitigate climate change, accelerate climate smart agriculture practices, reduce greenhouse gases, and advance clean energy technologies.
- PRIORITIZING CHILD NUTRITION. The bill invests in the health of America’s kids by providing $26.8 billion for child nutrition programs, like school meals. This funding includes support for the Summer Food Service Program and the Summer EBT program.
- HIGHLIGHTING USE OF BIOMASS TO ADDRESS ENERGY NEEDS. The Omnibus includes language supported by Senator King to highlight the important role forests and biomass can play in addressing the country’s energy needs. The legislation directs the Department of Energy, USDA, and EPA, to work together to ensure consistent biomass policies and fully recognize the benefits of using biomass for energy, conservation, and responsible forest management. It also encourages establishing policies that would reflect the carbon neutrality of biomass and recognize it as a renewable energy resources
- INCREASING RESOURCES TO PREVENT OVERDOSES. The budget provides $491 million for opioid overdose prevention and surveillance, up $15 million from FY21. The funding comes as Maine’s overdose deaths skyrocketed to 636 in 2021, highlighting the need for action.
- STRENGTHENING AMERICA’S INVESTMENTS IN GLOBAL HEALTH. The FY22 budget appropriates nearly $10.5 billion to advance global health around the world. The legislation will support the health of families and communities in nations across the globe, and improve the global health network required to detect and prevent future pandemics.
- SUPPORTING UMAINE'S ADVANCED MANUFACTURING. The budget provides $25 million for Department of Defense’s Advanced Rapid Prototyping (3D printing) development that is led by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Information Technology Laboratory.
- HELPING MAINE SMALL BUSINESSES ACCESS GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS. The legislation allocates $50 million for the Department of Defense’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) – including the Eastern Maine Development Corporation – that provide training and assistance to local businesses so they can find and win government contracts.
- INCREASING INVESTMENTS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. Early childhood education programs receive an increase of $558 million above the FY21 levels. The legislation includes $6.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $11 billion for Head Start, and $290 million for Preschool Development Grants.
- SUPPORTING AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH. The legislation includes increased funding to help support specialty crop research in Maine, including the potato breeding programs run through the University of Maine that has helped to develop products like the Caribou Russet.