Alexander: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Legislation that Will Help Tennessee Fight Crime, Build Infrastructure, Clean Up Meth Labs

Posted on April 21, 2016

Says bills also help ensure the EEOC is prioritizing the “massive” backlog of workers’ discrimination complaints

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement today after voting in favor of two fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee:

“These two appropriations bills provide crucial resources to help build roads and bridges, ensure law enforcement has the tools it needs to fight crime, clean up methamphetamine labs, and also ensure the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is prioritizing the massive backlog of American workers’ discrimination complaints,” Alexander said. “This is exactly the job we were sent here to do: to set the nation’s spending priorities in a responsible way within the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 instead of moving from one short-term extension to the next.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill and the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Today’s vote means these two appropriations bills are ready to be considered by the full Senate.

Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

The Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill will:

  • Provide $18 million to states and local governments to support efforts to clean up methamphetamine labs and form anti-methamphetamine task forces.
  • Provide $36 million to help law enforcement agencies track down and arrest criminal suspects across the country by sharing information through the Regional Information Sharing Systems Program (RISS).
  • Require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to focus on reducing its “massive” backlog of more than 76,000 workplace discrimination complaints instead of initiating lawsuits from investigations which were begun without any individual filing a complaint and give the public an opportunity to weigh in on any new guidance proposed by the agency.

Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

The Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill will:

  • Provide $44 billion for the federal-aid highway program to support road and bridge construction nationwide.
  • Provide $525 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery “TIGER” grant program, which awards competitive grants to communities in Tennessee and across the country to fund significant transportation projects, including highways and bridges, public transportation systems, passenger and freight railroads and port infrastructure.
  • Provide $3 billion in funding for the Community Development Block Grant, which provides funding to low and moderate income communities to support economic development, housing and infrastructure needs in Tennessee and across the country.

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. Sen. Alexander leads the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee and negotiated the bill with Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). The bill is being considered by the full Senate this week. The Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill also was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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