Congresswoman Escobar Votes to Pass Bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Secures Over $11.5M in TX-16 Community Funding Projects

Congresswoman Escobar Votes to Pass Bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Secures Over $11.5M in TX-16 Community Funding Projects

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted to pass the $1.5 trillion Bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The bill makes several investments on behalf of America’s hardworking families and responds to the crisis in Ukraine by allocating $13.6 billion to support the Ukrainian people and defense forces. Funding in this bill incorporates many of the critical priorities for El Paso that Congresswoman Escobar worked hard to include. The legislation will also reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and includes the nine Community Funding Projects introduced and championed by Congresswoman Escobar that will invest $11,584,000 million directly into El Paso.

Community Funding Projects serve as the first step in more federal funding directly reaching communities across the United States. The nine FY 22 Community Funding Projects that Congresswoman Escobar secured will deliver critical resources and secure long-term success for our community.

“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, it is crucial that Congress continues to invest in the American people,” Congresswoman Escobar said. “I fought hard for the inclusion of these community projects to address El Paso’s priorities to rebuild our infrastructure in a way that is reflective of 21st century needs, improve our healthcare system, provide for our youth, and ensure we continuously strive to improve the quality of life for all El Pasoans.”

In addition to the Community Funding Projects for El Paso, the Congresswoman secured significant investments and policy improvements for the borderland, to include:

  • A $900,000 increase for the U.S. Mexico Border Health Commission to address staffing needs and daily operations, which will allow the Commission to address border health challenges both in the U.S. and Mexico;
  • Inserted language that encourages the Commission to engage with their Mexican counterparts to develop a binational COVID-19 vaccine deployment strategy for U.S. and Mexican communities;
  • $10 million for the Space Force University Partnership Program, a critical program to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP);
  • $2 million for additive manufacturing training efforts to develop courses in this rapidly evolving technology for our servicemembers, with some of these prototype courses being developed at UTEP, and;
  • $1.5 million increased funds for the Central America Regional Program, critical to addressing root causes of migration by combating crime, corruption, impunity, advancing human rights and holding our partner governments accountable in the region.

The Bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which includes the Community Funding Projects, now goes to the Senate for consideration, with the expectation that it will quickly be sent to President Biden’s desk for an official signature.

The Community Funding Projects awarded to TX-16 include:

$1.2M – UMC Robotics Expansion

Requested by: El Paso County Hospital District / University Medical Center of El Paso. This funding will be used to purchase a Di Vinci Single Port (SP) robot at the University Medical Center of El Paso to improve minimally invasive service offerings for the El Paso community. The SP robot will allow University Medical Center to expand its capacity to provide high-level medical care to the region, including uninsured individuals. Finally, the SP robot will provide a valuable tool to treat urological cancer, a treatment not currently available in El Paso.

$925,000 – La Fe FQHC Technology Upgrade

Requested by: Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Inc. This funding will be used to upgrade La Fe’s service delivery model by enhancing and interconnecting its Electronic Health Records (HER) system to be capable of comprehensive coordination of care. By interconnecting La Fe’s medical, dental, pharmacy, laboratory, and other health care services, La Fe’s eight FQHC’s and four community outreach facilities would be able to serve the border’s most vulnerable populations and isolated colonias.

$2.8M- Cotton Valley Connect by Digital El Paso

Requested by: County of El Paso. The funding will be used to provide reliable access to public broadband services, via wireless mesh service, to an estimated 3,256 students across two school districts through the community. Access to reliable and quality internet service has proven necessary to navigate remote learning during a pandemic and will remain a critical utility and service line for the regional economy moving forward.

$1M – Casitas Community Project

Requested by: El Paso Center for Children, Inc. This funding will be used to purchase / acquire land and build a 15-unit tiny home community for young adults ages 18-24 who are experiencing homelessness.

$1M – Paso del Norte Trail

Requested by: City of El Paso. This funding will be used to create a model infrastructure project that prioritizes connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists, provides safe recreation space, and creates a community amenity to drive ecotourism while promoting sustainable development.

$1.1M – Connecting Communities: Upper Valley First-Time Water & Wastewater Projects

Requested by: County of El Paso. This funding will be used to provide for the design and environmental assessment for a cluster of first-time water and water waste projects throughout the Upper Valley to facilitate 412 residents with access to critical infrastructure to promote health and safety of the community.

$525,000 – El Paso Police Department Body-Worn Camera Program

Requested by: City of El Paso. This funding will be used to establish a body-worn camera program for the El Paso Policy Department. This project will provide better transparency, increased civility, quicker resolution and training opportunities.

$2.015M – The Crisis Intervention Team

Requested by: County of El Paso. This funding will be used to fund a Crisis Intervention Team, (CIT) for the County of El Paso. The Crisis Intervention Team is a new partnership between the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (SO) and Emergency Health Network (EHN), the official Local Mental Health Authority. The SO and EHN will explore options for providing safer and more effective responses to dynamic law enforcement incidents involving persons in suspected mental health crisis and situations involving persons with a diagnosed or suspected mental illness and / or intellectual disability. By addressing and focusing on the root cause, the SO CIT can help persons seeking assistance find the proper resources.

$964,000 – El Paso Makes: Department of Defense Contract Support for El Paso’s Manufacturers

Requested by: National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining. This funding will be used to support NCDMM in working in partnership with UTEP’s Aerospace Center and W.M Keck Center for 3D Innovation and the El Paso Chamber to assist local manufacturing businesses in identifying and developing proposals to address DoD opportunities and develop practices and contracting vehicles that can be utilized to rapidly accept DoD contracts. The funding will help to develop a regional innovation ecosystem by harnessing UTEP’s national research preeminence to create high quality jobs for this region.

Originally posted on March 10, 2022 by Veronica Escobar

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