Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon
Whitehouse (D-RI) hailed passage of a bipartisan budget agreement that ends the
cycle of stopgap funding measures of recent months and paves the way to fund
our military and boost investment in key priorities for Rhode Island. The
agreement comes with a commitment for a $6 billion increase in funding to fight
the ongoing opioid and mental health crises. It will also boost medical
research, improve key tax credits to help limit carbon pollution, and invest in
vital water and transportation infrastructure.
“This agreement is a win for Rhode Island,” said
Whitehouse. “It moves us beyond the funding showdowns of the last six
months, and sets a course to overhaul the federal budgeting process and restore
fiscal sanity. It paves the way for $6 billion in additional funding to
battle the opioid crisis in Rhode Island and around the country, as well as
increases funding for our troops and a range of Rhode Island priorities.
And it includes my bipartisan legislation to combat climate change by putting a
dollar value on reducing carbon pollution. I hope we can carry the
bipartisan spirit of this agreement forward as Congress takes up the important
work of bringing relief to Dreamers.”
Whitehouse is a lead author of the Comprehensive Addiction
and Recovery Act, sweeping bipartisan legislation designed to curb the opioid
public health crisis and save lives. As a result of the legislation,
Rhode Island has received $3 million over three years to create ten Centers of
Excellence for Opioid Use Disorders. The Centers provide rapid access to
treatment and comprehensive services for people struggling with opioid
“In 2016, President Obama signed into law my bill to combat
addiction and promote recovery, fundamentally changing the way the federal
government deals with addiction,” Whitehouse continued. “The agreement we
passed today will lead to more funding for substance abuse education, expanded
medication-assisted treatment, better prescription drug monitoring programs, and
help states like Rhode Island to implement their opioid battle plans. I
am so proud we’ve secured this help for Rhode Islanders fighting to prevent
opioid addiction and support those on the long, noble path of recovery.”
In addition to the increase in opioid funding, the bill
includes important commitments on a range of Rhode Island priorities Whitehouse
has been fighting for:
It ups by $20 billion federal infrastructure investment to
fix and improve roads, bridges, and ports.
It closes the prescription drug doughnut hole for seniors,
completing a process set in motion by an Affordable Care Act provision championed by Whitehouse.
It includes Whitehouse’s legislation to spur investment in
next-generation carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies,
putting a dollar value on the reducing carbon pollution driving climate change.
It creates a process to examine federal budget reforms—a
move Whitehouse has been advocating as a member of the Senate Budget
Committee. Earlier this year, the Senate passed Whitehouse and Senator
David Perdue’s bipartisan amendment to the fiscal year 2018 budget
resolution highlighting the need for a new budget process.
It extends the biodiesel credit benefiting companies like
Rhode Island’s Newport Biodiesel.
It includes a significant increase in funding for community
health centers, which provide care for over 160,000 Rhode Islanders.
It increases investment in medical research carried out at
Rhode Island hospitals and universities.
Having cleared Congress, the legislation now
goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.