NEWS: Sanders Secures More Than $42 Million for Vermont Communities in Government Funding Omnibus for 2023

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Thursday 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.

See below for more details and some highlights on Sanders’ projects. For the full list of Sanders’ funded FY23 appropriations projects, see here.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

  1. Federally Qualified Health Center Expansion into Brattleboro: $4,220,000
    With this funding, Springfield Medical Care Systems, newly renamed North Star Health, will integrate with Windham County Dental Center on the campus of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital allowing 1,500 to 3,500 Vermonters to access dental care. North Star Health will also build a new facility in Windham County to provide much-needed primary medical and behavioral health care.

  2. Vermont EMS Academy: $750,000 
    This funding will establish the Vermont EMS Academy to serve as an educational partner for Vermont EMS and provide high quality, financially and geographically accessible enhanced training to help rebuild the EMS workforce across the state.

  3. CNA to RN Non-traditional Career Pathway Program: $473,000 
    With this funding, St. Johnsbury Academy will establish a nursing bridge program designed to take individuals from nursing assistant positions into registered nursing positions. The program would have points of entry that, from beginning to end, would move students from certified nursing assistants to licensed nursing assistants to licensed practical nurse and finally to certified nurse.

  4. Expansion of the Vermont State Firefighters Association Cadet Academy: $150,000 
    With this funding, the Vermont State Firefighters Association will quadruple the number of slots in its Fire Cadet Academy. This residential summer training program provides 14-to 17-year-old Vermonters with hands-on firefighter experience, critical leadership capabilities, and highly transferable soft skills.

  5. Improving the Social and Emotional Well-Being of Youth by Expanding Access to Arts Education and Enrichment, Governor’s Institute of Vermont: $304,000
    This funding will enable the Governor’s Institute of Vermont to double the number of program slots available in their summer arts program by adding a second session, ensuring an additional 130 young artists – teenagers and high school students – will have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning and career exploration.

  6. Nursing Virtual Reality Laboratory, Norwich University: $487,000 
    This funding will allow the nursing school at Norwich University to establish a virtual reality laboratory to better educate and train nursing students and meet the overflow of current and future enrollment.

  7. Harwood National and International Travel Study Program, Harwood Union High School: $134,000 
    This funding will expand a successful travel study program at Harwood Union High School to enroll more students and form new partnerships with schools in the United States and other nations. 

  8. Lake Access for Youth, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center: $60,000 
    This funding will allow the Community Sailing Center (CSC) in Vermont to develop their Diversity Access Initiative and increase youth enrollment in their programming by covering the costs of new educational equipment and staffing.

  9. Afterschool and Summer Programming, Windham Central Supervisory Union: $100,000
    With this funding, the Windham Central Supervisory Union will support summer and afterschool programming for the students of the West River Valley in Vermont.

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies 

  1. Expanding and Improving Shared Equity Homeownership for Vermonters: $2,500,000
    With this funding, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board will expand affordable, shared equity homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income Vermonters statewide.

  2. Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail Rehabilitation and Extension: $1,440,000 
    Congressionally directed funds will be used for design and construction of the state owned Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail (MVRT).

  3. ANDCO Mobile Home Cooperative: $688,000 
    With this funding, the ANDCO Mobile Home Cooperative will replace existing substandard homes and remove abandoned homes, helping us to set the low-income, resident-owned co-op on a path toward long-term sustainability.

  4. The Veterans’ Place Renovation: $997,000 
    With this funding, the Veterans’ Place, Inc will comprehensively renovate its current transitional housing facility for homeless veterans to better accommodate older veterans, veterans with disabilities and health issues, and veterans who need supportive housing.

  5. Central & Main Housing: $1,000,000
    Funding will be used to construct a highly energy efficient 30-united mixed-income building in Windsor, Vermont on a vacant site in the center of town, on Main Street within a state “Designated Downtown.” 

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

  1. Water Improvement Projects for The Royalton Fire District 1: $670,000
    This funding will support the Royalton Fire District 1 as it completes required upgrades of its drinking water treatment plant. 

  2. North Wells and Reservoir Project for The Town of Randolph: $775,000 
    With this funding, the Town of Randolph will build new wells and a new reservoir tank to improve drinking water quality for its residents. 

  3. Route 302 Water Main Replacement for The City of Barre: $2,240,000  
    This funding will be used by the City of Barre to replace an aging and unreliable drinking water transmission line. 

  4. Sewer Infrastructure Upgrades for The Town of Whitingham: $1,000,000 
    With this funding, the Town of Whitingham will complete required safety upgrades to its two wastewater treatment facilities. 

  5. Historic Museum Revitalization Project for The Saint Albans Museum: $70,000 
    With this funding, the Saint Albans Museum will complete exterior brickwork.

  6. Rockingham Meeting House Conservation and Restoration Project for The Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission: $360,000  
    The Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission will use this funding to restore and conserve the historic Rockingham Meeting House for safe public use. 

  7. Beebe Lane Stormwater Improvements for The Lake Iroquois Association: $320,000 
    The Lake Iroquois Association (LIA), in coordination with the Lake Iroquois Recreational District (LIRD), will use this funding to make improvements to Beebe Lane to better manage stormwater runoff into Lake Iroquois.  

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

  1. Barre Municipal Auditorium Upgrades: $3,451,000
    These funds will support important upgrades and renovations to the historic Barre Municipal Auditorium. The Aud has been an essential and versatile facility serving Vermonters in the region for more than 80 years. These improvements will ensure that families will be able to visit and use the Aud for generations to come.

  2. Tinker Child Enrichment Center: $1,500,000
    These funds will support construction of a 7,500 square foot facility for child care and education in Morrisville, VT. The Center will offer 72 high-quality child care spaces – 16 for infants, 22 for toddlers, and 34 for preschoolers offering full day, full year early care and education services – filling an urgent need for families in the region.

Energy and Water Development

  1. Resilient Power for Community Health Centers: $500,000 
    The Clean Energy Group will install solar energy and battery storage systems at several community health centers in Vermont.

  2. Brandon Senior Citizens Center Solar Panel Project: $7,000 
    The Brandon Senior Citizens Center will install a solar array to reduce the building’s energy costs and carbon footprint as well as enhance the building’s energy resiliency.

  3. Solar Energy Demonstration Project for Public Libraries: $57,000 
    The Worthen Library in South Hero will install 125 230-watt solar panels that would produce up to 85 percent of the library’s annual electric usage and save up to $5,000 a year in energy costs. 

Financial Services and General Government

  1. Center for Small Business and Community Legal Education: $1,274,000
    Vermont Law School’s Entrepreneurship Lab will establish the new Center for Small Business and Community Legal Education to provide expert legal education and subsidized legal services to Vermont’s small businesses. 

  2. Improving Market Access for Small and Rural Vermont Farms: $220,000
    This project will support the continued operation of the Center for an Agricultural Economy’s food delivery service, CAE Farm Connex. Farm Connex is vital to ensuring that the future of Vermont’s diversified farm economy is viable in rural communities.

  3. Montgomery Community Project: $80,000 
    The Montgomery Community Project will create a modern community workspace to provide local business owners and remote workers with the space, infrastructure, and business counseling and assistance they need to thrive in today’s evolving business climate.|

  4. Rokeby Museum: The Underground Railroad in Vermont Exhibition: $55,000  
    This project will replace the outdated permanent exhibit at Rokeby Museum with an exhibition that explores the history of enslavement and the Underground Railroad in Vermont, and the impacts of slavery and racism in Vermont communities today.

  5. The Vermont History Center: A Research Center for Preserving and Sharing Vermont’s Treasures: $210,000 
    The Vermont Historical Society will create a visible storage and research gallery of Vermont’s treasures – including artifacts, books, and documents reflecting the entire history of the state – for public access. 

Homeland Security

  1. Glen Brook Dam Removal at Castleton University: $188,000
    CDS funds will be used to partially or fully remove a small dam, thereby mitigating flood risk and restoring a natural ecosystem.

  2. Restoration of Moscow Mills at Smith’s Falls: $1,200,000 
    CDS funds will be used to upgrade underbuilt flood control works (sluiceway) and repair infrastructure damaged by Tropical Storm Irene at Stowe Electric’s historic dam and mill, improving flood resiliency and paving the way for energy resiliency.

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

  1. Micro-Grid System, Planning and Design: $1,170,000
    Planning and design funds to execute design work to construct a secure, integrated, primary voltage, feeder-level Micro-Grid, including a smart grid control system, a 66kAH battery storage system, and a 750kW photovoltaic solar array.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

  1. Justice Reform Legal Clinic: $975,000 
    This funding will establish a new legal aid clinic at Vermont Law School to reduce recidivism and mass incarceration among Vermonters.

  2. Memphremagog Maritime Education Center: $150,000 
    These funds will help establish the Memphremagog Maritime Education Center in Newport, which will teach students, teachers, community organizations, and visitors about Lake Memphremagog. This Center will not only highlight this invaluable natural resource, but also connect the next generation to it.