“This appropriations package will support efforts to fight the growing level of hunger in our country, guarantee clean and water in all communities and support our service members their families and the services they rely on, and ensure that our country’s values are reflected in how we interact around the world.
I am proud that the bill includes my request to boost funding for grants to help school breakfast expansion. Unfortunately, many kids continue to miss out on a critical meal to start the day and these funds will help more schools be able to start, maintain, or adopt innovate programs to help ensure that all children can start the school day with a healthy meal. I am also grateful that this legislation adopts my requests to fully fund the WIC program, so that at-risk women, infants and children can continue to access this effective program. I am pleased that within this account, the bill includes full funding of $90 million for WIC peer breastfeeding counselor program to help promote breastfeeding among the WIC population.
I am also thankful that the bill includes funding to protect our waters. The legislation includes a $15 million increase for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a longstanding priority of mind and my bipartisan colleagues in the region. The legislation also would provide increased funding, that I requested, to help stop combined sewer overflows that threaten water quality in our region and elsewhere in our nation. The bill would double funding for this program compared to current levels. It also includes strong funding through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to help address aging water infrastructure to protect our water quality and the public’s health. The bill includes billions of dollars in emergency funding for these programs that can help to address the backlog of projects.
And finally, the bill includes funding for a variety of programs to specifically address lead in our water, including $20 million in regular FY 2021 funding for a program to help homeowners pay for the costs associated with removing lead pipes on their property. An additional $500 million for this program is included in the bill as emergency funding and I was pleased to vote for an amendment on the floor to further boost this emergency funding by an additional $500 million (for a total of $1 billion ). This amendment is a follow up to the amendment to H.R. 2 that increased authorized funding levels for this program. But I know that even with this increase, the investments in this bill for lead pipe replacement is still a drop in the bucket compared to the funding needed to help us remove these pipes and prevent harmful lead poisoning.”