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Kuster Works to Secure Key Provisions in Government Funding Bill to Protect Children and Support Granite State Communities

Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted in support of bipartisan government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The bill includes a number of provisions Rep. Kuster has advocated for throughout the year. These include measures to protect the rights of unaccompanied migrant children, funding to boost rural economic growth, provisions to help educate individuals with disabilities, and more resources to address online child sexual abuse images.

“Appropriations are where Congress puts its values into action,” said Rep. Kuster. “Today we honored New Hampshire’s values by advancing measures that will protect children and by investing in the Granite State’s economic future. I was proud to help secure a $3 million increase in funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), which has financed critical economic development projects in New Hampshire. We also advanced resources that will support New Hampshire’s schools so every child can receive a quality education, keep our kids safe online, and improve conditions for children in our immigration system and at the border. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight for priorities that will help Granite State families and communities thrive.”  

Provisions Kuster advocated for that were included in the FY 2020 government funding bill are:

Assisting Low Income Households: Rep. Kuster helped secure $3.7 billion in funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – an increase of $50 million. As energy costs remain high, LIHEAP helps vulnerable households pay their energy bills and make ends meet – their assistance is particularly crucial during the cold winter and hot summer months.

Expanding Rural Economic Development: Rep. Kuster led her colleagues to increase funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) from $22 million to $25 million. The NBRC invests in the economic development of rural communities across New England and the Northeast. This vital commission has served as a successful resource for innovative and entrepreneurial pursuits to spur job opportunities across the communities it works with.

Increasing federal support for Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA): Rep. Kuster supported efforts to increase funding for IDEA, which helps school districts pay to educate children with special needs. The FY20 appropriations legislation provides $13,885,228,000 in funding for this program – a $400 million increase over FY19 levels. This funding will mean more federal aid to New Hampshire’s schools and help relieve some of the burden on local taxpayers.

Keeping Children Safe Online: Rep. Kuster co-lead a bipartisan effort to increase funding for the Missing and Exploited Children programs at the Department of Justice, which funds the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces. She helped secure $87,500,000 for this program – a $5 million increase over FY19 funding levels – which will aid efforts to crack down on child sexual abuse images, protect children from online predators, and provide law enforcement with more resources to hold those who harm children accountable.

Protecting Unaccompanied Children: Rep. Kuster led the charge to secure $160,000,000 in funding for legal, post-release, and child advocacy services for unaccompanied migrant children – a $50 million increase over FY19 levels. Unaccompanied migrant children with legal representation are five times more likely than children without representation to successfully claim asylum in the United States. Yet more than 60 percent of unaccompanied children in immigration court do not receive legal representation. This increase in funding will help ensure more unaccompanied children are able to navigate the immigration system.

Investing in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Rep. Kuster pushed for increased funding to advance the use of energy efficient technology and renewable energy to pave the way toward a clean energy economy. This funding would benefit the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable energy and its critical programs that aim to secure America’s energy future.

Addressing the Veterans Disability Claims Processing Backlog: Rep. Kuster supported efforts to increase funding for the Veterans Benefits Administration. This bill would provide $125 million to hire additional claims and appellate staff and overtime to reduce the disability claims backlog for veterans.