Maryland Marks Wins and Losses in Federal Funding

Maryland Marks Wins and Losses in Federal Funding

In relation to support to the states, Congress giveth and Congress taketh away.

With Congress bumping up towards a weekend deadline for approving the fiscal 12 months 2018 finances, Maryland leaders are tallying wins and losses:

–On the up aspect is a call to together with new funding for Metro within the omnibus measure working its manner by means of the U.S. Home and Senate now. The measure, which the Home authorized Thursday and the Senate is predicted to vote on by week’s finish, contains $150 million in capital funding for WMATA, the company that operates the Washington, D.C., area’s subway system and bus community.

Native lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. are engaged on laws that would supply a further $500 million in new funding on tools and upkeep, to handle persistent security and reliability points Metro has confronted lately. The Virginia legislature adopted a measure earlier this month, simply earlier than adjournment. Key Maryland lawmakers mentioned Thursday that they’re near an settlement [see related story]. The D.C. Council is anticipated to behave third.


U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) hailed the brand new federal funding, saying “I’m glad the omnibus included the total $150 million in grants for Metro to make capital enhancements. I’ll proceed to work with all stakeholders to make sure Metro is protected and dependable for its riders.”

–Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) praised lawmakers for approving one other Maryland precedence — a restoration of $73 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Hogan, who’s chairman of the Chesapeake Govt Council, mentioned, “The Chesapeake Bay is our state’s best pure asset, which is why during the last 4 years we’ve invested $4 billion in restoration efforts, a stage of dedication that can proceed so long as I’m governor. I name upon the [U.S.] Senate to right away comply with the lead of their colleagues within the Home, and assist us protect this nationwide treasure.”

–The omnibus boosts funding for the Nationwide Institutes of Well being in Bethesda by $3 billion, an 8.8 % enhance over fiscal 2017, based on U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D).

–It funds the federal authorities’s share of the Purple Line, a light-weight rail line linking Bethesda and New Carrollton.

–There may be further cash for NASA Goddard – together with $1.9 billion for Earth Science – and the twenty first Century Launch program at Wallops Island.

–The measure places limits on what the Trump administration can do to demolish the Hoover Constructing, the getting old house of the FBI in downtown Washington. It is a win for space lawmakers who query the Basic Companies Administration resolution to maintain the FBI in D.C. and have satisfied the company’s Inspector Basic to evaluation the decision-making course of (partly as a result of the president owns a resort throughout the road from FBI headquarters). Lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia desire building of a brand new headquarters on a bigger, extra campus-like setting outdoors town.

“Clear language that the present proposal to maintain the brand new FBI headquarters at its current location is unacceptable and won’t be funded,” Van Hollen mentioned. “Investments made within the consolidation mission had been protected however can’t be spent till GSA presents a brand new plan for Congressional authorization.”

–Within the meantime, efforts to stabilize the person medical insurance market in Maryland took successful when a measure championed by Sens. Lamar Alexander Jr. (R-Tenn.) and Patty L. Murray (D-Wash.) was disregarded of the omnibus.

The laws would have offered $30 billion for “re-insurance” — insurance coverage for insurance coverage firms. Maryland would have acquired $200 million below the method.

“That cash would have made it lots simpler to achieve our purpose of stabilizing our particular person insurance coverage market this 12 months,” mentioned state Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery).

Regardless of the setback, “we’ve a invoice and a bundle of concepts and proposals which might be transferring ahead right here, however the additional $200 million would have made it simpler,” he mentioned.

Lawmakers have been advised that each $100 million in subsidies reduces particular person premium will increase about 8 %. Feldman mentioned the $200 million in federal support would have diminished potential future premium will increase by 16-20 %.

Repeated premium hikes, a lot of them sizable, have led many shoppers who don’t have insurance coverage from their employer to drop particular person protection.

“We had been advised by the CareFirst CEO that if we did nothing this session, our particular person insurance coverage market in Maryland would collapse, so this is among the most important points this 12 months,” Feldman mentioned.

A key to stabilizing the insurance coverage market, Feldman mentioned, is to get “younger, more healthy individuals again within the pool” — a problem within the absence of a federal mandate, which Congress repealed late final 12 months as a part of an enormous tax reduction bundle.


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