Key Arizona Health, Security, and Education Priorities Included by Sinema in End-Of-Year Appropriations Bills

Dec 21, 2020

Sinema secures resources making health care more affordable and accessible, bipartisan border security initiatives, support for Arizona’s military installations, education funding, and investment in Arizona’s infrastructure in annual spending bills

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured a number of Arizona priorities in the end-of-year appropriations bills that passed the Senate tonight. 
“Building bipartisan coalitions and staying focused on getting things done for Arizonans allowed us to make health care more affordable and accessible, strengthen our border security, support our servicemembers, expand job opportunities, and ensure everyday Arizona families have the resources they need to get ahead,” said Sinema.
Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Sinema ensured critical emergency health care preparations and funding were included in this year’s appropriations bills. Sinema helped secure $705 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement to ensure Arizona is ready in a public health emergency like COVID-19. Sinema also helped secure $300 million in hospital preparedness funding to ensure rural and local health care centers across Arizona have the resources needed to care for Arizonans and save lives.
Sinema secured the passage of key border security proposals that will help secure Arizona’s borders, including her bipartisan Southwest Border Security Technology Improvement Act. Sinema’s bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assess technology gaps along the southwest border and determine how it could address them. The package also includes language that echoes her bipartisan CBP Hiring and Retention Innovation Act to improve the hiring and retention of Customs and Border Protection agents and officers. 
Sinema also successfully secured critical funding for Yuma Proving Ground, Fort Huachuca, and the Arizona National Guard in Tucson to ensure Arizona servicemembers have the resources needed to keep America safe and secure. 
Additionally, Sinema secured a number of priorities strengthening Arizona’s water security, fueling jobs, and expanding opportunity through the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, and she included in the Energy Act section of the bill her Solar Energy Research and Development Act, increasing resources to Arizona’s government, universities, and companies to help develop solar technology.
Thanks to Sinema’s leadership, the Impact Aid Program, which ensures schools on federal, military, and tribal lands are equipped to provide Arizona students with a quality education, received an increase of $20 million.
Sinema also secured the following priorities:
Securing Arizona’s Border:

  • The package includes her bipartisan Southwest Border Security Technology Improvement Act. Sinema’s bills requires DHS to identify border security technology gaps and develop a strategy to meet them. This will focus important attention on America’s ports of entry and ensure technology is deployed where it is most needed, keeping Arizona’s communities safe.  
  • Sinema secured language mirroring her CBP Hiring and Retention Innovation Act. Sinema’s language directs Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to use more analysis and flexibility when evaluating hiring and staffing needs. The language ensures CBP is recruiting and retaining quality employees, especially in rural areas.
  • Sinema secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2021 Homeland Security spending bill requiring the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to conduct an analysis of language access programs within DHS, helping ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely. 

Ensuring Arizona Veterans Receive the Care and Benefits They’ve Earned:

  • Sinema secured $10.3 billion for mental health programs for veterans, including $1.9 billion for suicide prevention and treatment programs.
  • Sinema secured $32 million for Child Development Centers for Arizona veterans.
  • Sinema secured language supporting her Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support legislation.
    • Specifically, Sinema ensured cross-collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Labor and partnership with community non-profit programs, including faith-based programs, that provide wraparound employment and counseling services to veterans and their families, including high-risk veterans, to ensure they have a successful transition to civilian life. Sinema secured language ensuring the Department of Veterans Affairs provides an update on these efforts to Congress.
  • Sinema secured $300 million for the VA Office of Rural Health and Rural Health Initiative, helping ensure veterans across rural Arizona have access to health services. 

Supporting Arizona’s Military Community:

  • Sinema secured resources for Arizona’s military community including:
    • $37.5 million for Tactical Electronic Warfare Systems used at Fort Huachuca. The resources secured will help Army units conduct advanced intelligence collection and electronic warfare.
    • $850 million for KC-135 tanker aircraft. The KC-135 Stratotanker is a proven and crucial airframe for aerial refueling used by the Arizona National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing located at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Their mission is important to support training at Luke AFB, DM AFB, MCAS Yuma, and other units across the Southwestern United States.
    • $950 million for Crashworthy, Ballistically Tolerant Fuel Systems, ensuring Arizona servicemembers’ aircrafts are safe and secure.
    • Funding for the remanufacture of the AH-64E, which is the most up-to-date model of the Army’s “Apache” attack helicopter.
  • Sinema secured nearly $65 million for Yuma Proving Ground including:
    • $14 million for military construction of a “Ready Building” the Military Free Fall School at Yuma Proving Ground. The Ready Building will consist of twelve 20-person sleeping bays, multi-purpose/dining area, day rooms, latrines, locker rooms and showers, laundry room, reception area, student luggage storage room, covered training area, and building support space. It will provide permanent facilities and infrastructure for living and sleeping areas for an average daily load of 202 students attending the Military Free Fall School at Yuma Proving Ground.
    • $49.5 million for military construction of a Special Operations Forces Hangar at Yuma Proving Ground.
  • Sinema secured $18.1 million in military construction for a Tucson National Guard Readiness Center. The construction of a 86,759 square foot National Guard Readiness Center will support training, administrative, and logistical requirements for the Arizona Air National Guard. This facility will be built on state land and designed to meet mission requirements for the 222 Transportation Company.
  • Sinema secured $33.7 million for military construction on the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Laboratory Building at Fort Huachuca, which will consolidate the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JTIC) operations, which are currently located in temporary trailers, into a modern facility at Fort Huachuca. JITC testbed facility will provide global testing capabilities, which extends to the entire spectrum of DoD, Federal government, private industry, and allies in support of commands and control, intelligence and defense reform initiative.
  • Sinema secured $318 million in funding for the SM-3 II-A missile program, which will allow production of the most advanced U.S. missile defense interceptor to continue at Tucson’s Raytheon Technologies. 

Making Health Care More Accessible and Affordable for Arizona Families:

  • The bill includes a total of $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen public health efforts and infectious diseases (including coronavirus and influenza). Sinema secured $695 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which invests in Arizona to ensure state and local health departments have the resources to prepare for and respond to health emergencies. 
  • Sinema supported $2.8 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to support vaccine development, influenza preparedness, and to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • The bill includes $7.5 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration, which supports $1.7 billion for community health centers and $975 million to improve maternal and child health programs.
  • Sinema supported $42.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and more than $3 billion to support Alzheimer’s and related dementia research. Sinema also supported additional medical research on diseases of significant impact to service members and their families, including $150 million for breast cancer research, $175 million for traumatic brain injury, $115 for overall cancer research, and $110 million for prostate cancer research.
  • Sinema supported $2.3 billion for programs supporting older Americans for nutrition and family caregiver programs, home and community-based services, and strategies to help older Americans and people with disabilities live independently in their communities. 

Creating Opportunities for Arizonans:

  • Sinema secured reforms that simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), reducing the burdensome, 108-question form to just 36 questions. These commonsense changes make it easier for Arizona students and families to apply for federal financial aid and access the benefits and opportunities they deserve.
  • Sinema delivered $7 million in funding for the Open Textbook Pilot, a program to reduce textbook costs for Arizona students by promoting the use of free textbooks and open educational resources. Arizona State University is a pilot participant. Lowering textbook costs eases financial burdens on Arizona students and their families.
  • Sinema secured $1.5 billion in Impact Aid funding, ensuring Arizona schools on federal, military, and tribal lands are equipped to provide Arizona students with a quality education. Arizona is the second largest Impact Aid recipient in the country, serving 76 Arizona public district and charter schools with 34,131 students who live on Native American or federal lands, whose parents serve in the military or work on federal lands, or who live in low-rent housing.
  • Sinema secured $10.7 billion to help Head Start programs continue providing Arizonans high-quality early childhood education.
  • Sinema secured $29 million for the Ready-To-Learn Television program, helping increase Arizona student academic achievement through the development and distribution of educational video programming for preschool and elementary school children and their parents, caregivers, and teachers.
  • Sinema secured $450 million in Charter School Grants.
  • Sinema secured $1 billion in funding for the TRIO program, providing additional academic support to Arizona high school students, college students, and veterans.
  • Sinema secured $855 million for affordable housing for Arizona seniors.
  • Sinema secured $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, which provided $160 million to Arizona communities in 2020.
  • Sinema secured $1.35 billion for affordable housing for Arizonans through the HOME Investment Partnership Program.
  • Sinema secured $114 billion in food assistance, $25 billion for child nutrition programs, $325 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to support seniors, and $6 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
  • Sinema secured $3.75 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help Arizona families pay their electric bills.  

Ensuring Resources for Tribal Communities in Arizona:

  • Secured funding for Tribal Colleges and Universities, supporting Dine College, San Carlos Apache College, and Tohono O’odham Community College in Arizona.
  • Ensured the Bureau of Indian Affairs will fully explain its plans to replace tribal public safety and justice facilities for the Hopi Tribe, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and the San Carlos Apache Tribe.
  • Sinema helped eliminate the funding cap on the amount that Indian Health Services can spend to demolish health care facilities, ensuring the San Carlos Apache Tribe can demolish an old IHS building on tribal land.
  • Sinema secured $4 million for the EPA to continue cleaning up the Animas River following the Gold King Mine Spill, which affected Navajo Nation communities in Arizona.
  • Sinema secured the requirement that DHS must develop a training program for staff who interact with tribal members and governments.
  • Sinema secured funding for Indian Health Services to assist in addressing the lack of running water for many communities on tribal reservations. 

Expanding Arizona’s Space and Aviation Research and Innovation:

  • Sinema secured full funding for the University of Arizona’s Near Earth Object Surveillance Mission, which will bring millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to southern Arizona, and further solidifies Arizona as one of the leading centers for space research in the country.
  • Sinema secured full funding for Arizona State University’s Psyche Mission, which will build and launch a probe to Psyche, a giant metal asteroid in the asteroid belt. This is the first NASA Discovery class mission fully led by a University, and helps solidify ASU’s leading role in space innovation.
  • Sinema secured $172.8 million for the FAA Contract Tower Program, which will help ensure flight path safety for Arizona’s seven Contract Towers. 
  • Sinema secured $5 million in Aviation Workforce Development Programs, ensuring the aviation industry is staffed with qualified aviation personnel. 
  • Sinema secured $40 million for the FAA’s NEXCOM program, which improves flight safety by improving Air Traffic Control radio technology. 

Securing Arizona’s Water and Energy Future:

  • Sinema ensured the Bureau of Reclamation can transfer up to $5.5 million to the Lower Colorado River Basin Development Fund, funding a number of water projects and tribal settlements in Arizona.
  • Sinema secured $30 million for infrastructure projects in areas with prolonged drought, including well construction projects authorized by the Drought Contingency Plan.
  • Sinema ensured the Army Corps will prioritize funding for projects removing non-native salt cedars and replacing them with native plants, helping strengthen Arizona’s water supply.
  • Sinema secured flood mitigation measures along Tonto Creek, the Lower Santa Cruz River, and the Little Colorado River.
  • Sinema secured continued support from the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Rio de Flag project.  
  • Sinema secured the inclusion of her Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act—legislation that settles the Navajo Nation’s water claim in Utah.
  • Sinema secured inclusion of Arizona and $150 million annually for Arizona in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program for rural water projects.
  • Sinema secured a mechanism and funding for Yuma water users to improve water infrastructure to create jobs and support the agriculture economy.  
  • Sinema secured language allowing SRP to pay the Army Corps to improve the manual for Roosevelt Dam and save more water for cities in the Phoenix area.
  • Sinema secured her Solar Energy Research and Development Act, which renews and modernizes the Solar Energy Technology Program, increasing resources to Arizona’s government, universities, and companies to help develop solar technology. The bill improves Arizona’s competitiveness in solar manufacturing and deployment. Arizona ranks third in the nation in solar energy production, and is expected to add another 2,769 million watts of solar energy over the next five years.
  • Sinema also secured her bipartisan Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act (LEADING ACT), which incentivizes research and development of carbon capture technology for natural gas to ensure a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy supply. The LEADING Act promotes the continued use of natural gas to keep energy bills low, maintain Arizona’s energy security, and protect the environment.
  • Sinema secured the passage of her bipartisan Integrated Energy Systems Act, which establishes a research and development program at the U.S. Department of Energy to analyze energy systems integration, including emission-reducing energy resources and nuclear hybrid energy systems. 

Strengthening Arizona’s Infrastructure:

  • Sinema secured $49 million for the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to repair the international sewage line between Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona. The bill also included language ensuring border security needs will continue to be a key part of this initiative.
  • Sinema secured $1 billion for national infrastructure programs, including BUILD grants which help fund infrastructure projects across Arizona.
  • Sinema secured $562 million for transit infrastructure funding, helping Arizona cities improve public transit systems.
  • Sinema secured the inclusion of her Airport Infrastructure Readiness (AIR) Act to provide certainty for Arizona airports about 2021 funding levels.