The $1 trillion spending bill signed by President Donald Trump on Friday not only keeps the federal government open through September, it also includes additional money to pay for the destruction of chemical agents stored at Blue Grass Army Depot.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, the Senate Majority Leader, announced the measure contains over $380 million for the Department of Defense Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative program and an additional $127 million to supplement funding for the chemical weapons destruction. This is were the funding for CSEPP comes from.
The measure also contains $152 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) which supports economic development in eastern Kentucky and language and language inserted by McConnell which permanently protects health care benefits for about 3,000 retired coal miners in Kentucky.
All had thought to be in jeopardy at one time as Trump’s administration sought deep cuts in domestic spending in an earlier budget outline, but McConnell previously promised to secure funding for the Blue Grass Army Depot munitions destruction and for ARC.
The spending measure, called an omnibus appropriations bill, does not include money for Trump’s top priority – a border wall across the United States’ southern border with Mexico. But it includes money for other forms of border security technology.
The spending measure avoids a government shutdown for now, funding the government through the end of the federal fiscal year which ends Sept. 30. Trump this week said a “good shutdown” might fix the “mess in Washington,” but McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WIS., have vowed there’ll be no government shutdown.
McConnell’s Senate office released a statement Thursday saying McConnell secured funding in the appropriations bill for a number of Kentucky priorities:
$250 million for cleanup and deactivation at Paducah’s nuclear diffusion site with an additional $50 million for a conversion facility at the site;
$25 million in new, supplemental funding for Kentucky abandoned mine sites to support economic development and reclamation of abandoned mine sites;
$20 million through the Department of Labor for training and employment services for unemployed miners in eastern Kentucky;
$234 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug program for marijuana eradication efforts in eastern Kentucky;
$25 million for the Printing House for the Blind in Louisville;
And language inserted by U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, prohibiting the U.S. Corps of Engineers from completing a study which might have led to fees for municipalities and businesses which draw water from Lake Cumberland.
The measure also contains funding for the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and for health-related opioid recovery programs.
The New York Times reported Friday that Trump is considering cutting the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent, which would include the HIDTA program.