February 09, 2016

Hirono: President’s Budget Reflects Hawaii, Middle Class Priorities

Senator Mazie K. Hirono praised President Obama’s inclusion of a number of Hawaii priorities in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget, released today.

“The economic and social progress that our country has made since President Obama took office in 2009 is a testament to the Administration’s work and the resilience of the American people. The President’s final budget continues to fund priorities that support middle class families and small businesses, and charts a path forward to face challenges that lie ahead,” said Senator Hirono. “The budget demonstrates that Hawaii continues to play a key role in keeping our country safe, supporting research and development, and protecting our environment and natural resources. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to see these programs fully funded.”

The President’s budget included many of Senator Hirono’s priorities for Hawaii and the country:

Education

- $33.97 million for Native Hawaiian Education Act programs.

- $350 million for Preschool Development Grants, which currently fund early learning at 18 Hawaii preschools.

- $28.8 million for Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions in Higher Education.

- $8.3 million to fund the Asian-American and Native American-Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions program.

- $30 million for Compact Impact funding, which Hawaii used in 2015 to provide educational and educational-related services for Compact of Free Association migrants.

- $800 million for Title III English Language Acquisition Formula Grants, which states use to fund English Language Learners programs.

- Protecting and strengthening the Pell Grant program, consistent with Senator Hirono’s proposals to allow students to use Pell Grants on a year-round basis and index Pell Grant awards to inflation in the future to help families keep up with rising college costs.

 

Energy

- More than $2.3 million for Hawaii energy programs including the State Energy Program, Weatherization Assistance, and energy research programs.

- $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Hawaii received $4.9 million in LIHEAP funding through the Department of Health and Human Services last fiscal year.

- Nearly $5.7 million for research, including funding for batteries and energy storage and the Fuels from Sunlight Energy innovation hubs. The Administration supports the national laboratories that have helped make Hawaii a test-bed for new energy technologies, along with awarding $2.9 million to University of Hawaii researchers in Fiscal Year 2014.

- Increasing resources for Bioenergy, Regional Clean Energy Partnerships to support regional innovation ecosystems, and providing more small business partnerships with our National Labs to expand sustainable transportation, renewable power, and energy efficiency.

 

Environment & Agriculture

- More than $32 million for Hawaii’s “Island Forests at Risk” landscape proposal, including $14.2 million for the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, $12 million for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and $6 million for Haleakala National Park. An additional $5 million is provided for Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail land acquisition under the National Trails Systems Collaborative Landscape and $4 million is provided within the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Legacy Program for land acquisitions within the Hoomau and Helemano Wilderness Area. 

- $137,000 to support initial operations at Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii, which was established in February 2015.

- $360,000 to fund maintenance at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

- $287.5 million to protect plant health, including a $2 million increase for the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program to provide the necessary staffing, canine teams, and equipment replacement needed to adequately inspect baggage bound for the continental U.S. from Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

- Support in the Fight Against Rapid Ohia Death, which includes studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to predict areas that may be at risk of further invasion. The USGS will also develop genetic assays to quantify fungal infection in wood, soil, potential insect vectors, and other relevant environmental samples and to rapidly confirm presence of the fungus in the field.

- The State of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) will declare more than 1,000 acres of land and water in Kaneohe Bay a National Estuarine Reserve. Upon designation in 2017, the reserve will be managed by the University of Hawaii, along with an array of state and local partners.

 

Health Care

- $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus. Last week, Senator Hirono joined Senate Democrats in urging President Obama to create an interagency plan to address the Zika virus in the United States and abroad.

- $5.1 billion for the nation’s 1,300 health centers, which include Native Hawaiian health centers, that provide health care services for 1 in every 14 Americans.

- $2 million for the State of Hawaii to treat Hansen’s Disease.

- $1.1 billion for domestic HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis prevention.

 

Housing 

- $10 billion over the next 10 years to work toward the goal of ending homelessness in the United States, as laid out in the first-ever National Strategic Plan to prevent and end homelessness.

- $500,000 in new funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program, which helps Native Hawaiians living on Hawaiian Home Lands access affordable housing.

 

National Security

- $425 million for the Maritime Security Initiative over five years to support the Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and strengthen relations with our Asia-Pacific allies.

- $7.5 billion to support the fight against terrorism and counter-ISIL operations.

- $6.7 billion to strengthen cyber defenses and increase options available in case of a cyber-attack.

- $36 million to support the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii.

- $32 million for tactical communication modernization, which supports the Digital In Place Project to upgrade Customs and Border Protection analog systems in Hawaii, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic region, northern Virginia, Puerto Rico, California, and Guam.

- $10.8 million for the East-West Center to continue its vital work forging understanding between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific nations.

 

Military Construction

The President’s Budget includes a request totaling $198 million for military construction projects in Hawaii: 

- $40 million for the Army Fort Shafter Facility

- $31 million for the Army National Guard Hilo Combined Support Maintenance Shop

- $43 million for the Navy at Barking Sands to Upgrade Power Plant and Electrical Distribution Systems

- $72.6 million for the Navy Kaneohe Bay Regimental Consolidated Communications/Electrical Facility

- $11 million for the Air National Guard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam F-22 Composite Repair Facility

 

Small Business 

- $15.5 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which provides financial and technical assistance and training and outreach programs designed to benefit Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native communities.

- $26 million for New Markets Tax Credits, which promote economic and community development in rural and underserved areas.

- $230 million for entrepreneurial development programs which include the Small Business Development Centers program, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers, Veterans’ Business Outreach Centers, the State Trade and Export Promotion Program, and others that operate in Hawaii.

- $1.1 billion for Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs. CNCS operates community service programs that allow young people and seniors with opportunities to serve their communities and make a difference. Programs like AmeriCorps help to get full-time volunteers into communities to help address homelessness, support youth enrichment programs, and other vital social services. This year’s budget will allow for 13,000 more AmeriCorps volunteers.

 

Transportation

- $244 million in federal funding for the Honolulu Rail Project, which fully maintains the federal government’s commitment. The $244 million includes an additional $14 million to offset reduction of funds that occurred in 2012 due to sequestration.

- $254 million for the Essential Air Service program, which supports affordable and reliable air transportation within Hawaii, including Kalaupapa on Molokai.

 

Veterans Affairs

The President’s Budget requests $182 billion in funding for the Veterans Administration, including $91.5 million for projects in Hawaii:

- $29 million for National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific improvements

- $15.8 million for Advance Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access (ALOHA) Center.

- $9.9 million for a new Kauai Community Based Outpatient Clinic

- $9.8 million to construct the Hilo Replacement Community Based Outpatient Clinic

- $9.3 million to expand VA Center for Aging at Tripler Army Medical Center

- $8.2 million to renovate the Honolulu VA Ambulatory Care Clinic

- $4.4 million to renovate the Honolulu Community Living Center for Patient Privacy

- $2.9 million for the lease of new research facilities

- $2.2 million to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by constructing a Photovoltaic Farm on Oahu