Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced more than $42 million, that he secured on behalf of 51 Vermont projects, has been included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus legislation that passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday ahead of the Friday deadline.
Sanders’ Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) projects for the Fiscal Year 2023 address critical needs across Vermont, including in health care, child care, infrastructure, clean energy and water, farming and agriculture, education, and housing. The year-end spending package, to fund the government through 2023, now heads to the House of Representatives before being signed into law by President Biden.
“Too many Vermonters, and people across the country, have lost hope that government can work for them in real ways,” said Sen. Sanders. “Too many have lost hope that government is listening to what they need and taking real action on their behalf. With these projects, I am glad to say, Vermonters will soon see real, positive benefits in their daily lives and in their communities. I was proud to see these projects through the Senate and look forward to seeing them have a meaningful impact in Vermont communities as quickly as possible.”
Sanders’ WORK Act also passed in the omnibus, authorizing a $50 million grant program – modeled on the success of the Ohio and Vermont employee ownership centers – to establish and expand local employee ownership centers across the country. Sanders helped establish the Vermont Employee Ownership Center in 2001 and first introduced the WORK Act in 2009. Study after study has shown that employee ownership increases employment, productivity, sales, savings, and wages in the U.S.; and helps to decrease gender and racial wealth disparities. There are more than 50 employee-owned companies headquartered in Vermont, including well-known local names like Switchback, King Arthur Baking Company, Gardener’s Supply Company, and Chroma Technology.
The funding package also includes: a 30% increase in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program to $8 billion; nearly a billion dollars more for Head Start; a doubling of funding for community schools to $150 million; a $500 increase in the maximum Pell Grant to nearly $7,400; a $1.2 billion increase in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to over $5 billion; and the first increase in funding for the National Labor Relations Board in a decade to nearly $300 million.
For the full list of Sanders’ funded FY23 appropriations projects, go here: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/FY23-Funded-CDS-Projects.pdf.