Wes Hickman/Kevin Bishop
-- A full four months behind schedule, the federal appropriations process for FY 2003 is finally moving forward. Last night, the Senate passed the $390 billion-plus Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2003 which authorizes federal government spending for the current fiscal year which began on October 1, 2002.
“I’m very proud of my Republican colleagues for having the discipline to pass last years’ appropriation bills while staying within the budget request of the president,” said Graham. “Several Democrats, notably Zell Miller of Georgia, were helpful. However at the end of the day the new Republican majority was able to pass 11 appropriation bills in 3 weeks – a task Senator Daschle and his colleagues were unable to do in an entire year.”
Graham noted a major area of particular importance to South Carolina was the measures $3.2 billion in drought relief for farmers and ranchers. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared all 46 counties in the state disaster areas for agriculture.
In addition, the bill contains authorization for money to be spent on projects in South Carolina. They include:
- $9 million for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division;
- $8.25 million for the South Carolina State Ports Authority;
- $7.5 million for the South Carolina Judicial Department;
- $5 million for Anderson County transit;
- $2.5 million for US 17 improvements in Georgetown;
- An increase of $2 million to the South Carolina Association of School Administrators in Columbia for the Blue Ribbon School Reform Project and Interactive Library;
- An increase of $2 million to the College of Charleston for the School of Science and Mathematics;
- $1.5 million to provide community-based, cost-effective alternate programs for juveniles who are, have been or maybe subject to compulsory care, supervision or incarceration in public or private institutions in several states, including South Carolina;
- $1.2 million to Spartanburg for the Arkwright Connector;
- $1 million for Columbia Airport Air Traffic Control;
- $1 million to Stop the Violence for programs to reduce crime and create substantial neighborhood development through a successful model of community involvement;
- $1 million to the City of Columbia for redevelopment of the Drew Park Wellness Center;
- $1 million for the Mount Pleasant Waterworks Commission for Snowden Community Wastewater Collection Projects;
- $1 million to the City of Charleston Commission of Public Works for wastewater tunnel replacement;
- $1 million to the City of Greenville for water and sewer infrastructure related to the Greenville-Spartanburg Neighborhood Redevelopment Project;
- $900,000 to the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations in Charleston for job training;
- $823,000 for the United States Marshals Service in Anderson for construction costs;
- $750,000 for the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Regional Centers for Operation Ceasefire in Charleston;
- $700,000 to the City of Charleston for pre- and post homeownership classes;
- $400,000 to Myrtle Beach for dunes restoration;
- $250,000 to the University of South Carolina Children’s Law Office for programs to improve the professional practice in child maltreatment and juvenile justice in South Carolina;
- $200,000 for Darkness to Light in Charleston which seeks to prevent child abuse and obtain services for victims of child abuse by providing additional information about the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse;
- $65,000 for the United States Marshals Service in Anderson for courthouse security equipment;
- Savannah River Site appropriations include: $30 million for Highly Enriched Uranium blend down, $33 million for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility, $93 million for the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, $2 million for Plutonium Packaging and Stabilization, $14.8 million for High Level Waste Removal.
“We displayed fiscal discipline in passing the budget and demonstrated we're capable of leading the country,” continued Graham. “Every Senator was asked to give up some projects and make sacrifices for the common good. I'm very proud of my Republican colleagues for sticking together as almost all the votes adding additional spending items to the measure were straight party line votes.”
The Senate will now go to conference with the House of Representatives on the measure.