“Communities damaged by natural disasters have enough to worry about in the aftermath of these terrible events. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the federal government will live up to its responsibilities as a partner in their recovery efforts,” Sen. Landrieu said. “In Louisiana, we’ve experienced firsthand the critical need for an efficient and coordinated response after a disaster. By replenishing this fund, communities can rest assured that when disaster strikes, help will quickly be on the way.”
Sen. Landrieu, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of its Subcommittee on Homeland Security, was instrumental in ensuring funding and language supporting multiple Louisiana priorities in the budget legislation, which runs through the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2012. Among them, funding for the Corps of Engineers to carry out maintenance and dredging on the Mississippi River; increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); funding for Louisiana military priorities at Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base; and an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Today’s budget agreement is a big win for many Louisiana priorities that we’ve been fighting for months, if not years,” Sen. Landrieu said. “These funds will help our region continue to recover from disasters, shore up our infrastructure, protect our industries and provide for our servicemen and women. I am proud to have secured these investments and I will continue to push for the issues that matter most to Louisianians.”
Highlights of Louisiana priorities, including links to more detailed information on each, are below:
- Energy and Water: Sen. Landrieu secured critical funding for Corps of Engineers projects for maintenance of our waterways, including the Mississippi river, as well as other major priorities for Louisiana’s water systems. However, Sen. Landrieu believes the funding is still insufficient, and will continue to push for increased funds for our area. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- Defense: Sen. Landrieu secured $125 million for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program and funding for research and development throughout Louisiana. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- Homeland Security: As Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Landrieu secured critical provisions for disaster recovery in this legislation. Sen. Landrieu successfully pushed for fairness in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts to recoup improper disaster assistance payments. Sen. Landrieu’s provision allows the FEMA Administrator to waive a debt owed to the U.S. if the individual earns less than $90,000 and was given assistance because of an error on behalf of FEMA. Because Sen. Landrieu so strongly supports fighting fraud and wasteful government spending, she ensured that the Administrator is prohibited from waving the debt if the debt involves fraud. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- Vulnerable Children: Sen. Landrieu secured the creation of the Families First Pilot Program, which will provide up to $4.5 million for partner governments to improve their programs for children living outside of family care. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- Interior: Sen. Landrieu secured funding for important programs - including the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving fund – that protect Louisiana’s wetlands, clean water and infrastructure, all while supporting jobs. The legislation also includes language to help remove barriers from the Louisiana forestry community and keep the industry working. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- oSen. Landrieu also secured language regarding swift processing of permits for drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.
- Education and Health: Sen. Landrieu included important priorities in this legislation including funding for charter schools, support for programs like Teach For America and increased funding for Louisiana from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
- Military Construction: Sen. Landrieu secured nearly $70.1 million for Fort Polk and nearly $30 million for Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB). The legislation also includes $60 million to help finance the permanent construction of a VA hospital in New Orleans. Click here for a full list of accomplishments.
In addition, regional priorities funded in the bill include:
- Bollinger Shipyards: Sen. Landrieu secured $358 million for Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La., to build six Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) for the Coast Guard. Click here for more information.
- Anti-Dumping: Sen. Landrieu secured $5 million for antidumping efforts for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to create an antidumping and trade enforcement initiative, which will aim to toughen duty collections, stop duplicitous importers and improve communication with the Commerce Department. Click here for more information.
- Cyber Security: Sen. Landrieu $443 million for cyber security and cyber education. This funding supports cyber security workforce development and the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City, La., which has been an integral part in the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to develop these critical programs. Click here for more information.