WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) voted to pass a package of three Fiscal Year 2024 spending bills, which includes a provision secured by Senator Hirono to provide $2 million in federal funding to address deferred maintenance at U.S. schools of agriculture. The package—which includes the Agriculture; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and transportation, housing, and urban development appropriations bills—also includes more than $285 million in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) that Senator Hirono requested for nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Hawaii. The bill passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 85-12 and now must be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This bipartisan funding package invests in key priorities for Hawaii and our country,” said Senator Hirono. “I am proud that my legislation to address deferred maintenance projects at agriculture schools across the country was included in this bill, especially as Hawaii works to strengthen its food sustainability and increase support for local farmers. I am also glad that funding requests I submitted for projects across Hawaii were included—projects that will help protect native species, improve infrastructure, and construct facilities for keiki and kupuna in need. As we continue working to fund the federal government, I’ll keep fighting to secure federal investments for people and communities across our state.”
Senator Hirono’s deferred maintenance provision would provide funding for grants for construction of agricultural research facilities at schools of agriculture across the country. The grants—available to universities and colleges of agriculture—go towards construction, alteration, acquisition, modernization, renovation, or remodeling of facilities and research equipment.
Additionally, Senator Hirono secured nearly 40 CDS requests in the bill, which would provide over $285 million in federal funding for a wide range of projects in Hawaii covering agriculture; military construction and veterans affairs; and transportation, housing, and urban development. While this funding is included in the Senate bill, it is not guaranteed until a final bill is signed into law. A full list of the projects is below:
- Hawaii Land Trust - $1,097,000
- To install predator proof fencing to protect native forest species from invasive predators.
- MA’O Organic Farms - $567,000
- To construct an Agroforesty Training Baseyard as proper infrastructure to support a new offshoot of youth workforce programs.
- Hoa Aina O Makaha - $96,000
- For improvements to the infrastructure of Hoa Aina O Makaha including: complete renovation of the Front House; roof replacement for the tool shed building; electrical power line upgrading to code; termite inspection, treatment, and repair.
- Hawaii Land Trust - $1,500,000
- To restore the historic Dickey house structure to a Cultural Learning Center to provide a safe space for students, educators and practitioners from weather conditions, while connecting our community and school partners to the land through place-based experiential learning.
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES (MILCON-VA) PROJECTS:
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam - $49,080,000
- The planned Waterfront Production Facility will bring light industrial productive capacity and shipboard worker services closer to the drydocks in a permanent and modern facility.
- Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay - $109,000,000
- Upgrades a water reclamation facility at Marine Corps Base, Kaneohe Bay.
- Fort Shafter - $23,000,000
- Construct a Clearwell and Booster Pump System.
- Helemano Military Reservation Hawaii - $33,000,000
- Construct wells, pump station and storage tank.
- Schofield Barracks - $21,000,000
- Construct water storage tanks, pumping station and distribution lines.
- Schofield Barracks - $16,000,000
- Construct elevated potable water storage tank and distribution lines.
TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (THUD) PROJECTS:
- Child and Family Service - $1,181,000
- To undertake demolition and infrastructure work on Child and Family Service’s existing property in an effort to build a new youth residential crisis stabilization facility for children in crisis.
- City and County of Honolulu - $2,500,000
- To construct a Kupuna Resource Center (KRC) to better help kupuna access services as seamlessly as possible. The KRC will house a resource library and computer center, as well as workspace for Elderly Affairs Division staff to provide direct services.
- County of Kauai, DPW - $3,200,000
- This funding will support design and construction of a roadway, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
- YWCA of Hawaii Island - $1,500,000
- To replace a defunct swimming complex with a new, modern preschool, including age-appropriate play areas and a commercial kitchen.
- County of Kauai - $3,290,000
- To replace the roof of the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, including the curved auditorium, central lobby, and north lobby. The current roof, which was built in the 1960s, has exceeded its useful life.
- Hui Malama O Ke Kai Foundation - $785,000
- To construct a multi-purpose pavilion with a certified commercial kitchen and multipurpose space for educational and community activities.
- Residential Youth Services and Empowerment (RYSE) - $3,000,000
- To build and renovate facilities to address youth homelessness through small census living models and residential care, programming, and supportive services.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii - $1,500,000
- To purchase and renovate a building to create a new headquarters for Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii. The headquarters will serve as a space to host youth programs, to facilitate community and family workshops, to distribute resources, and as a hub for mentoring services for youth and teens.
- County of Kauai - $1,600,000
- To develop civil engineering and construction documents for the Kilauea Affordable Housing subdivision on approximately 50 acres of County-owned land in the town of Kilauea, including, stormwater systems, water systems, wastewater, roadways, and utilities.
- County of Kauai - $1,800,000
- To undertake the engineering and design work for a wastewater treatment facility for the Kilauea Affordable Housing subdivision and other areas of Kilauea Town.
- Island of Hawaii YMCA - $625,000
- To acquire parcel of land adjacent to the existing Island of Hawaii YWCA, allowing the organization to expand program access.
- Malaai - $676,000
- To replace an existing outdoor shelter, and be used as an outdoor classroom for the approximately 200 students of Waimea Middle School that participate in Malaai’s programs.
- Child and Family Service - $2,000,000
- To contribute to the construction of a 6,000 sq ft walk-in service and resource center adjacent to the organization’s existing location.
- County of Kauai - $1,400,000
- To develop civil engineering and construction documents for the Waimea 400 affordable housing subdivision, including the engineering and design of all required on- and off-site civil infrastructure including, stormwater systems, water systems, wastewater, roadways, and utilities.
- Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife - $900,000
- To build a Hawaiian design-inspired educational center at the State Kawaiele and Mana Waterbird Sanctuary for locals and visitors to learn about the complex history of West Kauai and see five endangered Hawaiian waterbirds, including the nene, Hawaii’s state bird.
- Hui O Hauula - $5,399,000
- To replace a community center in disrepair with a community resilience hub that functions as both a new community center and as a wind- and tsunami-resilient shelter in an area of Oahu that does not currently have that kind of shelter.
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Act fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and related agencies $135.3 billion in non-defense discretionary funding, as well as $161.7 billion in mandatory funding, to fulfill our nation’s obligations to our veterans. The bill further provides advance appropriations for our veterans in fiscal year 2025, including $112.6 billion for veterans’ medical care and $193 billion for veterans benefits. The bill also includes $19.1 billion in defense spending for military construction and family housing this year—an increase of $70 million over fiscal year 2023—to upgrade and modernize critical infrastructure and support military families.
- Keeps our sacred promise to veterans by fully funding veterans’ medical care and benefits and fully funding VA programs, including by:
- Delivering a $2.3 billion increase in funding to get veterans the mental health care they deserve.
- Providing $557 million more to strengthen VA’s caregiver program and reach more families, $439 million more to support women veterans’ health care, and $23 million to expand the Child Care Pilot Program to eliminate barriers for veterans in need of child care while attending medical appointments.
- Boosting our investments in VA facilities to deliver better care for veterans across the country.
- Investing $938 million in VA Medical and Prosthetic Research to advance efforts related to Traumatic Brain Injury, PFAS exposure, and more.
- Strengthens our national security by delivering a historic funding level to modernize critical military infrastructure and build our presence in key regions around the world, including by:
- Boosting funding to support critical maintenance projects, upgrade our shipyards, and improve the resiliency of our bases and military infrastructure, particularly in the face climate-driven threats.
- Providing more than $1.8 billion in funding for projects in the Indo-Pacific Command to support the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, delivering $300 million for projects to support the European Deterrence Initiative, and fully funding the U.S. commitment to support the NATO Security Investment Program.
- Supports our servicemembers and military families, including by:
- Delivering new resources to construct new family housing, maintain and upgrade existing units, and strengthen oversight of privatized housing.
- Increasing funding for child development centers to expand access to child care for military families.
- Providing additional funding to address the threat posed by PFAS and to support environmental remediation at BRAC installations.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill provides $25.993 billion in funding.
- Supports kids and families by fully funding nutrition assistance programs and boosting funding for WIC to get more women, infants, and children the nutrition they need.
- Increases WIC funding by $615 million to ensure over 6 million women, infants, and children can get the nutrition they need.
- Fully funds SNAP to serve an estimated 42 million Americans each month—and includes no new restrictions on eligibility.
- Fully funds Child Nutrition Programs to ensure schools can continue serving healthy meals to millions of kids nationwide.
- Invests in agricultural research with new funding to support farmers and ranchers, particularly as they continue to respond to a changing climate.
- Protects the safety of America’s food supply and helps keep American families healthy and safe by delivering new resources for FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service to fulfill their critical missions.
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill provides $98.931 billion in total discretionary funding. The bill:
- Gets Americans safely to where they need to be, including by:
- Providing $1.255 billion in new resources for the FAA to address the shortage of air traffic controllers, improve safety, reduce flight delays, and increase efficiency.
- Addressing rail safety deficiencies after recent derailments, disasters, and close calls with $32 million in new funding for the Federal Railroad Administration to improve safety and operations nationwide.
- Continuing critical investments in America’s transit and transportation infrastructure.
- Expanding transportation infrastructure assistance for Tribes.
- Increases America’s housing supply and affordability and addresses the homelessness crisis, including by:
- Increasing the supply of affordable housing nationwide with funding to build 10,000 new rental and homebuyer units.
- Extending funding for the “Yes In My Back Yard” grant program to support efforts to increase our nation’s housing supply and lower housing costs through state and local zoning changes.
- Delivering $275 million in new funding for Homeless Assistance Grants to help address homelessness in communities across the country and providing new resources to better connect people experiencing homelessness with health care services.