Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) highlighted today in a federal funding bill major support for the Capital Region economy, the local growth of quality jobs, and language he introduced in the House to fight Alzheimer’s. Announced late last night, legislation that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year includes:
· funding for the previously endangered Kesselring Site in West Milton as well as the Knolls Atomic Power Lab (KAPL) in Niskayuna,
· full funding to clean up the Scotia Navy Depot in Glenville,
· a provision that would create the first-ever national network of manufacturing hubs,
· and the exact legislative language Tonko introduced in April of this year with Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) in the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act (H.R. 4351).
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on H.R. 83, which is also known as the “CROmnibus” and would fund the federal government through the next fiscal year.
KESSELRING, KAPL FUNDING:
H.R. 83 provides $1.239 billion dollars for Niskayuna’s Knolls Atomic Power Lab and the Kesselring Site in Saratoga County, which represents an increase of $144 million from fiscal year 2014 funding. Congressman Tonko has worked with members of the House and Senate including Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee leaders, as well as Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to make the case for continued support of these programs. Through this education campaign, leaders in Washington finally understand the importance of these facilities’ work to our national security, shown through budget cuts being reversed this year and the enhanced 2015 budget put forth this week.
These Navy and Department of Energy investments are critical to the local economy. According to a Fiscal Year 2009 Navy Economic Impact Report, Navy investments have a total economic impact of $1.354 billion and 9,971 total jobs in the Capital Region.
“Our local economy and national security depend on the work done at KAPL and Kesselring, and this funding will ensure that work will continue. I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their work in the Senate and with the administration on this integral program. Together, we made sure decision makers were aware that the research, development, support and training that takes place here in the Capital Region are critical to our fleet’s readiness and operation success – as well as millions of dollars of economic activity in our area. I will continue to work across the aisle and with Secretaries Moniz and Mabus to make sure Kesselring and KAPL continue to play a role in our region’s and nation’s success and security,” said Rep. Tonko.
ALZHEIMER’S ACCOUNTABILITY ACT:
The federal funding bill includes the full language of the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, legislation introduced in April by Congressmen Tonko and Guthrie to support research and development a cure for Alzheimer’s. The language requires the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit an annual research budget proposal directly to Congress and the President, specifying the resources needed to fully implement a National Alzheimer’s Plan without political and budgetary restrictions. It allows scientists to provide a complete and undistorted view of what they believe is needed each year in order to effectively prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by 2025, helping Congress to make more informed funding decisions.
“The incorporation of the Alzheimer's Accountability Act into the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill is a huge step forward for our nation as a whole, and especially for the 5 million of us living with Alzheimer's disease. We commend Congressman Tonko for his sponsorship of this bill, and for his unwavering efforts to ensure that appropriate research funding levels are met. Our thanks to Mr. Tonko, and to our supporters in the House and Senate, for allowing the experts at the NIH to specify the resources it needs to bring the Alzheimer's epidemic to an end,” said Elizabeth Smith-Boivin, Executive Director and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York.
“This is a big step forward finding a cure for a disease that affects more than 5 million Americans and their families. In 2014 alone, the total cost of Alzheimer’s will be $214 billion, which includes a $150 billion hit to Medicare and Medicaid. Only 0.25% of that total includes research, which is the only path to reducing this costs and preventing future illness. I thank Rep. Guthrie for his work on this important issue and look forward to our continued fight to end Alzheimer’s by 2025,” said Rep. Tonko.
SCOTIA NAVY DEPOT CLEANUP:
The Scotia Naval Depot was built in 1942 as a storage and supply location for naval forces along the Atlantic coast and Europe. In March 2010, at the urging of local and federal officials, the General Services Administration (GSA) acknowledged lingering environmental issues at the site that were preventing the marketability and redevelopment of the site. In October 2011, the GSA agreed to a cleanup proposal from NYS DEC, which involves constructing a barrier to contain and clean up contaminants present in the groundwater located at the site. Under terms of the agreement, the federal government is responsible for cleaning up the environmental issues caused when the depot was in operation. Most Navy functions at the site ended after the Vietnam War.
Earlier this year, Congressman Tonko and Senator Schumer praised the President’s funding request for this project and worked to see its inclusion in House and Senate budget legislation.
“This long overdue funding is critical to our efforts to boost economic development in Schenectady County, and I am glad we are close to winning our fight to invest in this important cleanup effort. Local, state and federal officials have long shared a goal of redeveloping this site for expanded economic development opportunities and make it an attractive location for businesses to hire and expand locally,” saidRep. Tonko.
H.R. 83 includes a provision that would create the first-ever national network of manufacturing hubs, or National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Tonko has worked with local leaders, educators, administration officials, U.S. Senators, and his colleagues in the House to bring advanced manufacturing jobs to the Capital Region and promote a robust public-private partnership of industry leaders that would be centered in Albany.
The creation of this network would provide the Capital Region yet another area in which to compete for high-quality, high-paying jobs.
“Our nation’s renewed desire to invest in high-tech manufacturing and an innovation economy is tailor-made for facilities like RPI, CNSE, and GE to give domestic manufacturing a boost. The Capital Region is the hottest real estate in the country for cutting edge innovation and manufacturing, and I am pleased to see this opportunity to fight for high-paying local jobs with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, who have been champions for the high-tech industry in our region,” said Rep. Tonko.
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