Mar 23 2018 Alabama gets 'significant funding' in spending bill, Sen. Richard Shelby says

By: Paul Gattis

Provisions in the federal spending bill approved by Congress early Friday and signed into law Friday afternoon by President Trump will benefit Alabama from Huntsville to Mobile, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said.

Shelby's office issued a press release outlining those benefits - ranging from increased funding for national defense initiatives and NASA at Redstone Arsenal to money for four new military ships built in Mobile.

President Trump signed the bill into law Friday afternoon after threatening to veto the bill earlier in the day. Trump's signature also staves off another federal government shutdown, which would have gone into effect at midnight Friday.

"Through this appropriations measure, Alabama will receive significant funding for a number of priorities around the state," Shelby said in the statement. "For example, this legislation strongly supports missile defense, space exploration, biomedical research, law enforcement, and provides funding to improve local infrastructure, among other included priorities.

"I am proud to pass this measure which provides Alabama with the funding needed to continue economic growth and future development. I look forward to seeing our state benefit from this robust bill."

The following are a few of the provisions within the FY2018 appropriations bill of interest to Alabama, according to Shelby's statement: 

Redstone Arsenal:

  • This bill contains important funding for critical research and development activities that are being conducted by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command that will enable the U.S. Army to deter and prepare for conflicts of the future, including investments to advance our cybersecurity, directed energy technology and capabilities in space.
  • The measure funds continued development of a new rocket propulsion system to modernize our national security space launch - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which is $100 million above the President's budget request. 

Huntsville Federal Courthouse: The measure includes $110 million to fund a new federal courthouse in Huntsville. The courthouse will be located at Lowe Avenue and Gallatin Street in downtown Huntsville.

National Institute of Health (NIH): The legislation provides the National Institutes of Health (NIH) $37.1 billion in funding, which is a $3 billion increase over last year's levels.

Anniston Army Depot: The measure provides funding for Army ground vehicles such as:

  • Improved Recovery Vehicle (19 M88A2 Hercules), $86 million above the President's budget request
  • Abrams Upgrade Program, $375 million above the President's budget request
  • Stryker Lethality, $300 million above the President's budget request
  • Survivability Double V-hull upgrades, $348 million above the President's budget request

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG): The bill includes a total of $26 million for a new USCG HC-27J aircraft training simulator in Mobile.

Shipbuilding: This legislation provides important shipbuilding funding to grow our Navy, including funding for 3 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and one Expeditionary Fast Transport ship (EPF), proudly produced in Mobile. Additionally, the measure includes incremental funding for one LXR amphibious warship constructed in the nearby Huntington Ingalls Shipyard.

Red Snapper: The bill includes increased funding to protect and sustain our nation's fisheries. The funding will support more accurate and agency-independent data and language allowing NOAA to experiment with alternative management regimes. Provisions in the bill will help expand opportunities for American commercial and recreational fishermen.