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Palazzo Secures Funding for Key Priorities in Defense, Homeland, and Commerce Appropriations Bills

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Washington, December 17, 2019 | comments

Washington, DC - Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4), member of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science and the Homeland Security subcommittees, today voted to pass the Defense; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Financial Services and General Government; and Homeland Security Appropriations Bills for the 2020 Fiscal Year.

“Mississippi has a long-standing tradition of supporting a strong national defense through our military installations, shipbuilding, and support from the community. This bill builds on our commitment to provide for the common defense and focuses on rebuilding our military while providing our service members with the largest pay increase of the decade.

“South Mississippi has a thriving blue economy that is rapidly growing through the use of unmanned maritime systems. By allocating more funding for research in the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve enhanced our ability to better understand our oceans and partner with our universities.

“As the Administration focuses on returning Americans to the moon, Stennis Space Center will play a significant part in testing the rocket engines that will send our astronauts to the lunar surface. NASA’s Rocket Propulsion Test program received funding to support ongoing rocket engine testing activities occurring at Stennis. This bill ensures the road to space will still go through south Mississippi.

“In part to President Trump’s leadership, border apprehensions have dropped over the last several months. I am glad to know that Congress is prioritizing the needs of our southern border and will provide necessary resources, including wall funding, for smarter border security measures.” 

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Provides $2.5 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Launch System (SLS), $1.4 billion for Orion, and $590 million for Exploration Ground Systems.

Includes $46.5 million for NASA’s Space Operations, Rocket Propulsion Test which will be used for testing new rocket engine systems as well as infrastructure improvements at testing facilities, including NASA’s largest engine rocket testing facility Stennis Space Center.

Directs $373.4 million for NASA’s Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration which includes no less than $130.5 million for NASA’s three highest priority institutional construction of facilities projects. This includes Stennis Space Center’s High Pressure Industrial Water System Repair that supports all rocket engine testing programs, including the Space Launch System (SLS) and the RS-25.

Includes $110 million to develop NASA’s Nuclear Thermal Propulsion technology, an important component of the SLS program which performs engine tests at Stennis Space Center.

Includes language in support of the NOAA proposal to establish a centralized program for Unmanned Systems Operations, as authorized by the CENOTE Act of 2018 and providing $12.6 million in additional funds within the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, Unmanned System Operations, to support these activities. 

Provides $32 million for NOAA’s Hydrographic Survey priorities which includes $2 million in additional funds for NOAA to designate and continue supporting joint ocean and coastal mapping centers. 

Provides $35.5 million for NOAA’s Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Research for Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes, Mississippi State University is the lead entity for the competitively awarded Cooperative Institute for the Northern Gulf.

Includes up to $1 million to improve Near Real-Time Infrasonic monitoring of hurricane intensity. which would be carried out at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Geospatial Center.

Includes language and up to $10 million for NOAA to focus on improving shellfish survival and growth rates, which would benefit the University of Southern Mississippi’s oyster initiatives.

Provides $27.5 million for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, benefitting the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve which is comprised of approximately 18,000 acres and contains pine savannas, salt marshes, salt pannes, bays and bayous as well as terrestrial habitats that are unique to the coastal zone.

Allocates $42 million for NOAA’s Research Supercomputing which includes $15 million to continue to develop a dedicated high performance computing facility in collaboration with partners that have existing high performance computing expertise and scientific synergies.

Includes language on exempted fishing permits for Red Snapper to allow limited state management of recreational red snapper fishing. 

Defense

Funds the recently authorized 3.1 percent pay increase for military men and women. The largest increase in a decade.

Provides $277 million increase for the construction of a San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock (LPD-31) and a $650 million increase for the construction of  an additional large deck Amphibious Assault Ship (LHA-9), both of which will be constructed at Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula.

Includes $15 million for Navy Acoustic Surveillance Systems currently being constructed in Long Beach, MS to provide our Navy with enhanced theatre anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Allocates $8.1 million for acquisition of special operations boats that are built in Gulfport. These small craft will carry our special operators at the “tip of the spear.”

Increases funding for additional Lakota helicopters built in Columbus by $27 million which will be used by our Army to train the next generation of helicopter pilots.

Provides $224 million in funding for high performance computing modernization to provide all of the DOD with a clear technological edge over our near peer competitors. 

Includes $100 million for Army National Guard High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) modernization program positively impacting the readiness of Army National Guard units.

Provides $23 million for advanced naval composite manufacturing work done in Gulfport.  Additional work for Ship to Shore connector and the Navy’s newest submarines in cutting edge materials is creating the highest quality equipment for our nation’s Marines and sailors. 

Allocates $5 million for high-performance polymers research, $7.5 million for interdisciplinary cybersecurity research, and $8 million for Advanced Aerospace Composite Structures connecting cutting edge research at the University of Southern Mississippi with the military services that can put those technologies to work.

Includes $15 million for Medium-Altitude, Ultra-Long Endurance UAV built in Columbus which will provide persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance to our warfighters and commanders on the ground.

Homeland Security

Provides an additional $1.375 billion for new border wall funding, President Trump’s number one priority.

Maintains the president’s ability to transfer funds for the border wall.

Provides funding for an additional 1,200 Customs and Border Protection agents to address the influx of migrants at the southern border.

Allocates $100.5 million for Long Lead time materials on a 12th National Security Cutter (NSC) for the United States Coast Guard. The NSC is the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the Coast Guard. On April 30, The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the eighth NSC, Midgett, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Includes $10.8 million for Coast Guard Maritime Security Team boats built on the Gulf Coast.  These small boats are essential tools for the Coast Guard when intercepting drug running boats out at sea. 

Includes $32 million for lightweight Customs and Border Patrol Helicopters that are constructed in Columbus, Mississippi to increase resources dedicated to securing the United States border.

Incorporated language forcing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide a status report to Congress on deobligation decisions and appeals for grant awards from Hurricane Katrina recovery. 

Provides $135 million for a second Polar Security Cutter to be built by VT Halter in Pascagoula. In April, Palazzo praised the announcement of the Polar Security Cutter contract awarded to VT Halter that has brought more jobs to south Mississippi. 

Includes language supporting the research done by  Mississippi State University in conjunction with Engineering and Research Center (ERDC) to respond to a DHS need for rapid innovation to protect soft assets.

Provides $1.5 million for comprehensive testing of imported honey due to continuing evidence that imported raw honey is often marked with an inaccurate country of origin in order to avoid U.S. anti-dumping duties and may be adulterated with substances that could undermine the product’s consumer reputation.


Financial Services and General Government 

Combats the financing of terrorism and stregthens sanctions against Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Syria.

Eliminates a Democrat provision that would have prohibited using the Treasury Forfeiture Fund from being used for construction of the border wall. 

Combats the drug epidemic by increasing funds for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas like the Gulf Coast.

Provides $262 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund that provides financial services to low-income communities. For Mississippi, CDFIs are there to ensure that capital investments and economic opportunities find their way into underserved communities. 

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