Federal Omnibus Spending Bill Set To Fund Connecticut Priorities | Connecticut Public Radio

Federal Omnibus Spending Bill Set To Fund Connecticut Priorities

Mar 26, 2018

Connecticut’s entire congressional delegation voted for the omnibus spending bill which was signed, rather grudgingly, last week by President Donald Trump. 

For a blue state that relies heavily on its defense industries, the stars seemed to align in this bill, which boosts spending on jet engines, helicopters, and submarines -- all made in the Nutmeg State.

In fact as he signed the bill, Trump seemed particularly taken with the idea of Electric Boat's sub building program.

"We have submarines being built the likes of which there's nothing anywhere in the world like the submarines we build," said the president.

Despite that shoutout, the president seemed less enamored by the non-defense part of the bill, insisting much of it was a waste of money.

"But you can't get Democratic votes for this kind of a bill without making sure that Democratic priorities are taken care of," noted Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut's Third District representative.

She hailed an increase of $117 billion in discretionary programs, including more funding to fight the opioid crisis, money for environmental programs in Long Island Sound, an increase in funding for social program run through the Community Development Block Grant system, and transportation TIGER grants that will fund rail upgrades in the state.

In a statement welcoming passage of the bill, Second District Rep. Joe Courtney noted he was particularly happy to see more funding for public education, veterans, and community health centers.

"I am very pleased that this bill rejected many of the ideological riders and harmful cuts proposed by the Trump administration," said Courtney. "I hope this bill will now serve as a model for bipartisan compromise going forward, particularly as we begin the budget process for FY 2019 in a few short weeks.”

Senator Chris Murphy called the bill a compromise, but on balance, really good news for Connecticut. 

"This bill has lots of wins for our state," he said in a statement. "It was my priority on the Appropriations Committee this year to fund programs that help us protect and create as many jobs as possible in Connecticut, and this bill will do that in a big way. This bill will fund new manufacturing jobs, new health care jobs, and new construction jobs.”

All this week, Connecticut Public Radio will be examining different aspects of the omnibus bill to gauge its effects here in the state.