WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted in favor of the 2021 omnibus appropriations bill, which funds government programs through next September and advances a number of Senator King’s top priorities to support Maine jobs, increase affordability for working families, and invest in our national security.
“This year-end legislation includes a wide range of provisions that will improve life for Maine people,” said Senator King. “The bill includes provisions to support good, high-paying jobs for Maine people, whether it be at Bath Iron Works or one of our craft breweries. In addition, the legislation will help working Maine families afford essential needs, including housing and child care, while also encouraging employers to offer paid family leave. Finally, the legislation will take important steps to enhance our national security by funding shipbuilding priorities and reestablishing America’s leadership in global public health. The coming year will continue to present challenges as our nation grapples with the impacts of the coronavirus, and this legislation will help our nation confront these difficulties. I’m grateful to see this bipartisan product pass the Senate, and I am eager to continue working across the aisle with my colleagues in the coming year.”
Provisions supported by Senator King included in the legislative package include:
- Funding shipbuilding priorities. The legislation appropriates $3.2 billion for the procurement of DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2021, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. It also authorizes $159.3 million to fund future year DDG-51 procurements. In addition, the legislation authorizes funds $78.2 million for the completion of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, all of which are being built at BIW.
- Funding construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The 2021 NDAA appropriates $160 million for construction of Dry Dock One at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard installation at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.
- Incentivizing employers to provide paid family leave. The package includes a five-year extension of the Paid Family Leave Tax Credit. Senator King sponsored the Paid Family Leave Tax Credit when it first became law in 2017. This long-term extension of the Credit will help Maine employers provide paid leave to more Maine workers.
- Supporting Maine’s dynamic craft brewers and distillers. The legislation contains the King-cosponsored Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which provides permanent excise tax relief for Maine’s hardworking small brewers and distillers.
- Promoting affordable housing construction. The legislation stabilizes the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which is a key provision of the King-cosponsored Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. The revitalized credit will lead to the construction of more housing for the Maine people who need it most.
- Working to prevent future catastrophic pandemics. The legislation provides substantially increased funding for US global health security activities – a key priority for Senator King, whose Global Health Security Act was the first Senate legislation to address the vital challenge of emerging infectious diseases. The bill provides a $193 million to support CDC’s efforts to strengthen the capacities of developing countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats and outbreaks; this figure represents an increase of $20 million. The bill also increases USAID global health security funding by $90 million, to a total of $190 million, to strengthen the ability of target countries to prevent, detect, and respond to future zoonotic viruses and other infectious diseases, and to identify unknown zoonotic viruses.
- Supporting research and development work. Senator King successfully pushed for the inclusion of additional funds for Department of Defense Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs, including funding for research and development on active protection systems, tungsten manufacturing, and additive manufacturing initiatives. Maine research institutions and companies will be eligible to compete for some of these projects.
- Providing military personnel with high-quality, Maine-made equipment. The legislation appropriates $1.1 billion in funding for CH-53K heavy lift helicopters, which include components produced at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg. The legislation also includes $201.2 million for advance procurement of these helicopters.
- Increasing military pay. The legislation authorizes a 3 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces.
- Expanding telehealth for veterans. The agreement provides $1.3 billion to sustain and increase telehealth capacity for veterans, including in rural and highly rural areas. This effort builds on work done during the coronavirus pandemic to improve access to care for veterans, and would help older veterans and those who live in rural areas stay connected to healthcare providers.