The federal government recently avoided a complete shutdown largely due to the work of U.S.Rep. David Price, D-District 4, who, as the chairperson of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, helped secure funding for valuable national and statewide programs.
Price is North Carolina's only member of the appropriations subcommittee.
In the wake of a Feb. 15 deadline to pass a new funding bill, the subcommittee created seven appropriations bills. These bills were then signed into law, denying suggested budget cuts and preventing another government shutdown.
“Federal research funding spurs innovation to give the United States a competitive edge. As a member of the conference committee that negotiated the funding agreement to avert another government shutdown, I helped prevent devastating cuts proposed by the Trump administration and protect critical investments including funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park and National Science Foundation grants that support innovative research at local universities,” Price said in a statement.
The legislation guarantees funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s facility in Research Triangle Park. This bill rejects previously suggested budget cuts and provides $706.5 million in investments for the EPA Science and Technology account.
"This rejects cuts in Trump’s budget and protects the EPA research facility in North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District, which supports critical lab research and methodologies testing for the entire agency," Price said in a press release announcing the bills.
This collection of bills was the continuation of funding of university research. This bill is especially relevant to universities in the RTP like North Carolina State University and UNC. This is because had the bill not been created, budget cuts imposed by President Donald Trump would have greatly reduced funding for the NSF, which funds research at universities.
This bill, largely created by Price, includes $8.1 billion in funding to support the continuation of research. The shutdown would have indirectly affected the University and its ability to educate its students and staff through research.
Ranked fifth in the nation, UNC conducts federally funded research, securing almost $676 million annually from federal agencies. UNC Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson highlighted the centrality of the research for the University.
"A government shutdown may not have an immediate impact on research in the first few weeks, but over time, complications begin to mount — just as can happen in other business sectors in the U.S.," he said in a statement. "We appreciate and value the North Carolina Congressional delegation’s support of university research. Research is central to UNC-Chapel Hill’s status as a truly world-class university and a major driver of the North Carolina economy.”
The committee also secured $678 million nationally toward housing for the elderly and an additional $184 million for housing for disabled individuals. Funding associated with this bill provides $51 million in new units for low-income senior citizens and $30 million in new units for people with disabilities.
Another aspect of the newly adopted legislation is its funding for public works and transit projects. This provides $3.3 billion for community grants to develop public works and housing improvements. $500 million was provided to fund grants to improve new airport infrastructure and an additional $2.55 billion for future transit projects. Finally, $700 million was allotted for grants to upgrade rail systems and bus fleets.
Finally, one bill provides $3.43 billion to assist refugee and migrant communities. Price recently reaffirmed his commitment to these efforts with his vote on Tuesday to terminate Trump's national security declaration.
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