Pascrell Lauds Public Safety, TBI Funding in Federal Spending Plan
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 03:49 PM EST
$1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund federal government through October
WASHINGTON - Following passage in the House of a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today lauded the inclusion of funding for public safety and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research, both of which he has been a staunch advocate of during his tenure in Congress. The spending plan, which passed the House by a vote of 359-67, is a based on framework established in the bipartisan budget deal struck in December.
"Although this budget isn't perfect, it provides the federal government some certainty instead of the senseless lurching from crisis to crisis that has become the norm," said Rep. Pascrell, a member of the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees. "By replacing part of the indiscriminate cuts known as the sequester, this plan brings us one step closer to providing the critical investments our country needs. I've fought for years to ensure our first responders have the federal resources they need to protect our communities, so I am pleased that this budget prioritizes public safety in order to help local police and fire departments overcome budget constraints. Key investments in the treatment and research of traumatic brain injury will also provide support to families of solders and athletes that have sustained this devastating injury. As a member of the Budget Committee, my priority remains protecting the middle class, boosting job growth, replacing the sequester and reduce the long-term deficit in a balanced way."
The COPS Hiring Program, which provides funding to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide, was funded at $214 million - a slight increase from FY2013. In April, Rep. Pascrell led 180 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting ‘strong’ funding for the COPS program.
The Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, legislation Rep. Pascrell introduced in March 1999 that provides federal grants to local fire departments for staffing and equipment, saw a slight increase from FY2013 to $680 million.
The Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed TBI and Psychological Health Research program was funded at $125 million and CDC’s Injury and Prevention Control Initiative on Traumatic Brain Injury for $5.9 million - programs Rep. Pascrell has advocated for as co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.
In April, Rep. Pascrell led 33 Members in a sending letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting $19 million for the UASI Non-Profit Security Grant Program, which provides critical support for physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack. The appropriations bill includes $13 million in funding for the grant program.