How will the bipartisan budget deal impact the Valley? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

How will the bipartisan budget deal impact the Valley?

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President Donald Trump signed a major, bipartisan budget deal into law early Friday morning. The bill increases spending by $300 billion- providing increased spending for military and domestic programs. 

Included in the bill is a move that has support from both U.S. Senators from Ohio, as well as Congressman Tim Ryan: an allotment of $6 billion to combat the opioid epidemic and fund mental health initiatives. 

Rep. Ryan said that as of Friday afternoon, it's not clear how much money the Valley will see of that $6 billion. 

Ryan said during a news conference that the funds will be allocated to community-based, traditional programs. The money, according to Ryan, will go towards prevention and education, treatment programs, and law enforcement initiatives. 

The $6 billion builds on funding which was provided by Senator Rob Portman's Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) and the CURES Act. 

In addition, the bill provides funding to nearly the  Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which provides medical coverage to nearly 10,000 children in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana Counties alone. 

In Ohio, the CHIP Program operates as Healthy Start, which not only provides for medical insurance but also oversees programs such as those designed to benefit child nutrition in school, lead awareness, and several others. 

The massive budget bill provides funding for CHIP through 2029. 

According to Senator Sherrod Brown, the bill also increases funding for community health care centers, including more than 300 across the state of Ohio- one right in Youngstown. 

On a similar note, the bill will reportedly allot $5.8 billion over the course of two years to the Child Care Development Block Grant program, to make affordable childcare more accessible to working families.

Senator Brown announced the spending bill will also create a special committee, which he has been pushing for in legislation, to look at the pension crisis which began more than three years ago.

Thousands of Teamsters in Ohio were thrown into turmoil in December of 2014 when the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 was signed into law. The pension reform changed the amount the retirees would receive from the Central States Pension Fund. 

Since the passing of the of the law, protests and reviews have been taken up- voicing concern for the retirees who would suddenly lose thousands of dollars every year. 

The Committee, which Brown will have a seat on, will reportedly be required to hold at least five public meetings, including the possibility of a field hearing outside of D.C., so members of Congress can hear directly from retirees, workers, and businesses affected by the pension crisis

Senator Brown says the goal is for the Committee to have instructions to report a bill by the last week of November.

$20 billion will also be devoted to infrastructure investment. 

Although allotments have yet to be made, speculation exists that Pennsylvania, which has the second highest number of deficient bridges in the country, will see an increase in infrastructure funding. 

The bill, while increasing national spending by $300 billion, did not address a major sticking point on Capitol Hill- immigration reform. 

Congressman Tim Ryan says he expects the conversation will begin on that issue shortly. 

Lawmakers now have until March 23rd to pass a measure which would allocate the funding that was made available through Friday's bill. 
 

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