Legislation lowers the cost of living, creates good-paying American jobs, lifts up working families, and supports small businesses
On July 20,2022, Rep. Chellie Pingree voted to pass H.R. 8294, a package of six government funding bills which will help families and communities across America, including the Interior and Environment bill she authored. The transformative investments in the bill will lower the cost of living, create good-paying American jobs, lift up working families, meet the needs of Maine veterans, strengthen our national security, and support small businesses.
“In my first fiscal year as Interior Chair in Fiscal Year 2022, I’m incredibly proud that we were able to make unprecedented investments to fight the climate crisis, return science as the foundation for decision-making, dedicate the highest level of federal funding to the arts and humanities ever, and continue our commitment to tribal nations. Supported by President Biden’s ambitious request to increase funding over last year, I’m thrilled we were able to build on those successes in this year’s bill,” Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01) said. “With its passage today in the House, my Fiscal Year 2023 Interior Appropriations bill will further the United States’ commitment to clean energy, environmental justice, health infrastructure on tribal lands, and the arts. Through investments in clean energy technology, climate mitigation programs, and by restoring environmental protection, the Interior bill will take a whole-of-government approach to securing a safe and habitable world for future generations.”
The package additionally includes H.R. 6707, the Advancing Equality for Wabanaki Nations Act. The bill, introduced earlier this year by Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and cosponsored by Congresswoman Pingree, would update federal law to give Wabanaki tribes the same access to future beneficial federal laws as nearly every other federally recognized tribe in America. The bill also passed as part of the FY2023 House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Rep. Pingree championed funding for nine projects in this bill that will directly benefit Maine residents.
1. Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center: $619,000: The funding would be used to support the creation of Women Lead: an Enterprise Institute, a comprehensive entrepreneurial leadership training program for immigrant women and girls. Women Lead will prepare immigrant women and girls to pursue small business leadership and ownership through a variety of services, including business mentorships, educational programming, language services, and assistance with marketing and finance.
2. Boots2Roots Transition to Work Initiative: $597,076: The funding would be used to expand ongoing efforts to connect Maine small businesses with military members and military spouses transitioning to living and working in Maine. The Transition to Work Initiative will bring together an expanded network of small businesses in Maine in need of workers, identify their unique needs and types of jobs available, and promote small business opportunities in Maine to transitioning military members and spouses looking to live and work in Maine. The Transition to Work Initiative will also increase its capacity to serve more transitioning military members and spouses each year.
3. Town of Limerick Drinking Water Project: $1,000,000: The Limerick Water and Sewer District operates and maintains both the public water and sewer systems in Limerick. The current sewer mains were installed in 1920 and households in the project area are at serious risk from drinking water contamination from the lead joints and sewage potentially leaking into the water lines. This project will replace the water and sewer mains in the Hollandville neighborhood in Limerick and restore access to clean drinking water for the residents.
4. Saco Water Resource Resiliency Project: $3,452,978: The funding would be used to support the Headworks Phase of the Saco Water Resource Resiliency Project that will make the headworks resilient to the effects of sea-level rise, intensifying wet weather events, and climate change impacts. Saco’s existing headworks structure was built more than 50 years ago at low-lying elevation and has been flooded several times, most recently during an October 2021 storm. To address this and other indicated concerns, Saco plans to construct the new headworks at an elevation that accounts for additional sea-level rise.
5. Central Lincoln County YMCA Child Care: $750,000: This funding would be used to build a new childcare center at the Central Lincoln County YMCA’s main location to expand services and better meet the demand in the community.
6. Maine Irish Heritage Center: $3,000,000: This funding would be used to restore, prevent further deterioration, and weatherize their building so it can continue to operate as a community space for cultural education.
7. Sanford Library Association, Louis B. Goodall Memorial Library: $3,000,000: The funding would be used to renovate and expand the library’s existing space. A community room, study rooms, and office space for volunteers would be added to provide a crossroads of access to the town’s many resources. Additionally, funds would be used to update the existing technology currently used by the library.
8. Apex Youth Connection: $750,000: This funding would be used to acquire and start construction on the Apex Future Focus Job Readiness Center. This center will target the community’s most at-risk youth and young adults to teach job readiness and life skills.
9. Preble Street Food Security Hub: $1,000,000: The funding would be used to support a Food Security Hub that would provide assistance to those facing hunger and homelessness. This Food Security Hub would act as an industrial kitchen, food processing center, educational site, office space, and conference center dedicated to collective advocacy work and efforts to address hunger.
“After more than a decade, Congress finally took back the power to directly fund the needs of our constituents last year. The millions of dollars that came back to Maine in Fiscal Year 2022 are already making a difference in our communities, and I’m thrilled we were able to build on that success this year,” said Congresswoman Pingree, a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. “These projects will enrich our communities and create a better, more resilient Maine for generations to come.”
The appropriations package creates jobs by rebuilding critical infrastructure, grows opportunity through homeownership and rental assistance, and promotes safe transportation and public housing by providing $90.9 billion for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.
The bill tackles hunger, lifts up farmers and rural communities, rebuilds our public health and safety infrastructure, and confronts the climate crisis with $27.2 billion for the Department of Agriculture – including rural development programs – the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies.
The appropriations package lowers costs for working families, creates good-paying jobs, invests in clean energy, and rebuilds water infrastructure, providing $56.275 billion for the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, and related agencies.
The bill grows opportunity and helps small business owners and middle-class families get ahead by providing $29.8 billion for the Department of the Treasury, The Judiciary, the Election Assistance Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies.
The funding bill creates jobs, confronts climate change, supports infrastructure on tribal lands, and ensures access to safe drinking water with $44.8 billion for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indian Health Services.
The bill protects our national security, upholds our commitments to servicemembers, veterans, and their families, and rebuilds our infrastructure, providing $314.1 billion for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies. For the first time ever, the spending bill separates VA Medical Care into its own funding category to better meet the needs of our veterans.