Sen. Chris Coons fought to secure funding for the men and women who keep Delawareans safe in the federal spending bill for fiscal 2020, which passed Congress on Dec. 19.
The bill includes funding that will support law enforcement, first responders, military and veterans. Specifically, the bill includes $21 million for a new Army Reserve Center in Newark and adds $28 million above the president’s request for the Army’s Chinook Block II helicopter program that employs Delawareans across the Delaware Valley.
“The men and women of law enforcement and our first responders put their lives on the line every day to protect Delaware’s communities,” said Coons. “I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure they have all the resources and support they need to do their jobs and come home safely at the end of their shifts. Service members, veterans and their families are part of the basic fabric of Delaware and make unmatched contributions to our country. I am proud to have secured funding for university and military projects that produce quality jobs for veterans and their families as well as newer, safer facilities for service members.”
The federal spending bill includes provisions that will directly benefit Delaware’s law enforcement, first responders, military and veterans, including:
— $28 million above the president’s request to upgrade the Army’s Chinook Block II helicopters. This program employs Delawareans across the Delaware Valley.
— $310 million for additional V-22 aircrafts for the Marine Corps. The V-22 program is another important source of jobs for Delawareans.
— $27 million for the Victims of Child Abuse Act, an increase of $4.5 million above the Fiscal Year 2019 level. This benefits Delaware’s three Child Advocacy Centers, which protect children and help law enforcement bring justice to criminals.
— $710 million for Assistance to Firefighter and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants, a $10 million increase from fiscal 2019 and $21 million above the president's request. This will ensure Delaware firefighters have essential resources, training, and funds for staffing. In 2018, the Delaware State Fire School received more than $358,000 from these grants.
— $15 million for the Army National Guard’s Unspecified Minor Construction fund, which supports projects such as an expanded physical fitness center at the Bethany Beach Training Site.
— $5 million for research of materials in extreme dynamic environments. The University of Delaware is one of four core universities undertaking this research, and the program will help create well-paid materials and manufacturing jobs.
— $7.2 million in new funds for the Delaware River in the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation grant, which will provide support for the care and maintenance of maritime navigation aids.
— $21 million for an Army Reserve Center in Newark, which will replace Delaware’s aging facilities that do not meet current standards for protection of service members.
— $235 million for the COPS Hiring Program, which has placed officers in Delaware communities like Ocean View, Delmar, Laurel, Smyrna, Wilmington, New Castle and Cheswold.
— $27.5 million for the Bulletproof Vest Partnerships, an increase of $5 million above the fiscal 2019 level. This program helped save the lives of two Delaware officers, who confronted an active shooter in 2013.
— Language that reinforces Coons' 2018 Families of Fallen Servicemembers First Act that provides survivors of fallen Coast Guardsmen with death gratuities in the event of a government shutdown.