Murkowski Secures Investments for Alaska in Fiscal Year 2022 Bill
Provides Funding Stability and Economic Opportunities
Last night, the Senate passed the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which sets federal funding levels for the remainder of the fiscal year. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, secured significant funding priorities, including $230 million in Congressionally Directed Spending allocations specifically for Alaska. Click here for Alaska’s Congressionally Directed Spending Allocations.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act includes all 12 of the annual appropriations bills and completes the Fiscal Year 2022 funding cycle.
“As the world watches Russia continue to escalate its bloody aggression toward Ukraine, this bill provides critical emergency assistance to support the Ukrainian Government while also boosting our own defense capabilities. The increase in domestic defense spending will help us equip our military forces with the tools it needs to enhance readiness and respond to global threats. The bill also directs significant funding to benefit health and wellness, public safety, energy security, education, and so much more,” said Senator Murkowski. “The past two years have been filled with uncertainty and economic hardship across the board. Through this bill, we are providing much-needed stability, protections, and opportunities for communities all across our state. And with the return to Congressionally Directed Spending allocations, we are giving communities the financial opportunity to complete projects and invest in their futures.”
Aid for Ukraine
This bill makes timely, significant investments in our military to boost our defense capabilities and includes $14 billion in emergency funding to support humanitarian, security, and economic assistance for Ukraine and European partners following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It includes support for arming and equipping Ukraine and NATO allies to counter Russian aggression, to defend against cyber and intelligence threats stemming from Russia’s actions, and for humanitarian assistance such as emergency shelter and food for Ukrainian refugees.
Support for Military and Arctic Security
To help support the health and well-being of military members and their families, Senator Murkowski helped secure funding to invest in suicide prevention pilot program, as well as to provide a much-deserved pay raise for troops and DoD employees, a raise in housing and food allowances, and childcare support. The bill includes significant funding to boost our nuclear defense capabilities. In support of the Arctic, Senator Murkowski helped include funding for the new Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, which will strengthen advances the DoD is making toward greater security, academia, and diplomacy in the region. It includes $20 million sought by Senator Murkowski to support state sponsored spaceports, which includes Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak. Significant funding is provided to support Coast Guard assets such as funding toward a Polar Security Cutter, Fast Response Cutters, Offshore Patrol Cutters, and National Security Cutters. As part of her push for a greater diplomatic presence in the Arctic, Senator Murkowski secured funding for an Ambassador-at-large for Arctic Affairs and a new Arctic Indigenous Exchange Program along with funding for U.S. participation, including that of Alaska Natives, at the Arctic Council. The bill also includes significant funding for the Civil Air Patrol, combat rescue capabilities, and various health-related research initiatives. Building on Senator Murkowski’s years long effort, the legislation includes funding to support peer-reviewed ALS research.
Investments in Alaska’s Communities
The bill fully funds the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program at $515 million, which provides monetary compensation to local governments throughout Alaska for vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. At Senator Murkowski’s urging, the bill includes $350 million, $208 million more than last year’s levels, for Essential Air Services, a critical program to Alaska that maintains commercial air services in approximately 60 small communities throughout the state. The legislation also allocates significant resources to the EPA’s program to construct or improve wastewater and drinking water systems in Native villages and throughout rural Alaska. In addition, the bill enables the Denali Commission to continue to build infrastructure in rural Alaska, and be the lead agency in assisting environmentally threatened communities with issues such as coastal erosion.
Support for Healthy Communities
As part of Senator Murkowski’s push to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality rates, the legislation includes Murkowski’s bill, the Rural MOMS Act, as well as legislation cosponsored by Senator Murkowski, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, and increases maternal mental health funding. Significant funding is provided to help address substance abuse, including funding for the ongoing opioid crisis. In light of a surge in mental and behavioral health issues, the legislation provides increased funding for mental health research, treatment, and prevention. Following an effort by Senator Murkowski and her colleagues, this bill closes a loophole allowing the continued sale of unregulated, synthetic nicotine—a long-standing danger to Alaska’s youth. The bill provides $25 million in new funding for Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS, a program created through Senator Murkowski’s bill, the ACT for ALS Act, which was signed into law in December 2021. The bill also extends critical telehealth flexibilities championed by Senator Murkowski—including Medicare coverage of audio-only services, beyond the COVID pandemic, ensuring Alaskans can continue to benefit from increased access to remote care. In many areas of rural Alaska, Community Health Centers are the only healthcare providers for hundreds of miles. This bill directs increased funding for Community Health Centers to facilitate expansion into providing behavioral health and substance abuse treatment.
Promotes Safer Communities
After months of work to find bipartisan consensus, Senator Murkowski helped insure her legislation, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act of 2022, was included in the bill. This will reauthorize VAWA through 2027, preserves advancements in previous reauthorizations and strengthens and modernizes the almost three-decade old law. The bill also provides funding for important programs that help emergency responders react to natural hazards and inform the public. Funding for both the earthquakes hazard program and volcano hazards program will allow Alaska to develop and upgrade monitoring capabilities. Other important funding increases will enhance the safety of aviation activities, including language requested by Senator Murkowski to require the National Transportation Safety Board to provide monthly data on Alaska air accidents. The bill enhances support for Alaska mapping initiatives—including $5 million designated for the Arctic Region – to help gather data to improve maps.
Addresses High Energy Costs
As Alaskans grapple with some of the highest home heating costs in the nation, the bill provides increased funding to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy. The legislation also increases funding for initiatives such as cybersecurity, energy security, and emergency response as well as funding to support nuclear energy, environmental clean-up and fossil energy research and development. The bill prioritizes America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve through increased funding to support modernization and management of the strategic petroleum reserve assets and leasing costs for the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve. The legislation also includes support for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families with their home heating bills.
Protects Alaska’s Fisheries and Oceans
The bill keeps in place the import ban on genetically engineered (GE) salmon Senator Murkowski secured in 2020. Products containing GE salmon are not allowed into the market until the FDA develops labeling guidance to make consumers aware of what is contained in the products they are purchasing, consuming, and feeding their families. $3 million dollars is included for the Digital Coast Act, a program secured into law by Senator Murkowski which will help shoreline communities better prepare for storms, cope with varying water levels and strengthen economic development efforts. At Senator Murkowski’s urging, an increase of $8 million in included for fisheries surveys—a historic level of coverage—to support no fewer than six Alaska, bottom trawl surveys, and Bering Sea acoustic pollock survey. The bill includes funding for Pacific Salmon Treaty activities as well as the Integrated Ocean Observing System. As Senator Murkowski continues to hear concern from Alaskans surrounding harmful algal blooms (HABs), $21.5 million is included for competitive research on HABs, including $2 million for freshwater HABs monitoring and detection.
Prioritizes the Environment
The bill makes major investments in clean air, water, and land. The bill includes $150 million from the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act for marine debris clean-up, which will reduce harmful impacts on Alaska’s coasts and provides streamgages to monitor the quality of transboundary waters. It supports EPA targeted airshed grants with $61.9 million, increased funding, to ensure that cities like Fairbanks have the resources to support wood stove change-outs to help reduce air pollution and to help comply with EPA air quality requirements. The legislation increases funding for environmental clean-up— including funding specifically to address PFOS/PFOA and AFFF cleanup. The bill also directs $4 million for the Coast Guard’s top environmental remediation priorities, funding which could benefit USCG bases such as Kodiak.
Invests in Agriculture and Increases Food Security
The bill includes $1 million above the FY21 level for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to partner with the University of Alaska on research cereal grains, cover crops, and invasive weeds as they related to the northern climates in regions dominated by permafrost. It also maintains funding for Senator Murkowski’s Micro-Grants for Food Security program, which brings nearly $2 million per year to Alaska, and has resulted in over 200 projects throughout our state in its first year alone to help Alaskans grow and store more local, nutritious foods. At Senator Murkowski’s request, the bill also includes a $1 million increase for the Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Reimbursement program, which helps to offset the high costs Alaska’s farmers bear to import seeds, fertilizer and other necessary items. The bill will also support the needs of low-income Alaskans, including children, mothers, and seniors, who are food insecure.
Supports Workforce Development and Education
The Consolidated Appropriations Act also includes greater investment in workforce development for youth, adults, dislocated workers, Job Corps programs, apprenticeships, and related programs. These investments will help Alaskans to train for better jobs and be better prepared to succeed in a changing economy. And it will help our schools, tribal entities, and community organizations to prepare our youth to succeed in school, college, and the workforce. Federal programs that Senator Murkowski has championed throughout the years, such as Title I Education for the Disadvantaged, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Special Education programs, the Alaska Native Educational Equity Program, Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Pell Grants and programs to strengthen our colleges, libraries, and museums will all see increased funding.
Murkowski is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Ranking of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.