A river pilot craft guides the OOCL Malaysia freighter to a bearth at the Port of Savannah on Monday, March 26, 2018. J. Scott Trubey/strubey@ajc.com
Photo: J. Scott Trubey/J. Scott Trubey
Photo: J. Scott Trubey/J. Scott Trubey

Spending bill to avoid government shutdown includes millions of dollars for Georgia

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Thursday – one day before the deadline to avoid a federal government shutdown – on legislation that includes $1.4 trillion in spending.
Benefits for Georgia in the package include the continued expansion of Savannah’s port and new disaster aid for homes and businesses affected by 2018’s Hurricane Michael.
The House has already approved the measure, which also includes policy changes such as raising the age to buy tobacco products to 21 and permanently repealing some taxes tied to the Affordable Care Act.

Several Republican members from Georgia joined Democrats in voting in favor of the appropriations bills, including U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger. He praised the plan for including money for President Donald Trump’s border wall and a pay raise for members of the military.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Georgia Democrat who serves as chairman of an appropriations subcommittee, said the spending plan represents the nation’s priorities, including support for veterans, the elderly and children.

“This is a good bill that promotes good health, economic and financial security, national security, and safety at home for our citizens,” Bishop, who lives in Albany, said. “I am overall very pleased with the final results of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations.”

Here are some spending plan highlights for Georgia:

  • $130 million for continued work on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. This matches the record funding for the port that President Donald Trump proposed, and more could come next year.
  • Georgia is among eight states that will share in $1.8 billion in disaster relief aid. Included in those dollars is $400 million for farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael, including those in South Georgia.
  • The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to share in $25 million for gun violence research and $4 million for skin cancer programs. The agency also will receive $225 million for capital projects at its campus in Chamblee.
  • Like every other state, Georgia will also share in $425 million in election security grants. The Brennan Center for Justice said the state will receive $11.6 million.
  • The appropriations package allocates $24.8 billion to the federal Department of Transportation. A share of these dollars for airport improvements, road and railway repairs and highway expansion will trickle down the Georgia. There was an earlier fight to preserve $310 million in highway funding for Georgia in the budget.

Separately, Congress has already approved Defense spending which includes many set-asides for military bases across Georgia.

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About the Author

Tia Mitchell
Tia Mitchell
Tia Mitchell is the AJC’s Washington correspondent.
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