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Schatz: Federal Funding For Hawai‘i Increases In New Appropriations Deal

Bill Includes Record Level Of Funding For Native Hawaiian Housing; Legislation Also Includes The Return Of Earmarks With Schatz Securing $240 Million; Deal Also Includes $150 Million Secured By Schatz To Defuel, Shut Down Red Hill

WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders today released a bipartisan appropriations deal that will increase federal funding for critical programs that benefit Hawai‘i. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, successfully secured funding for state priorities, which are now included in the final deal.

“This is a big increase in federal dollars this year. We are delivering millions in federal funding to help us rebuild our economy and help people with housing, health care, education, and other essential services,” said Senator Schatz, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

As Chairman of both the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing, Schatz worked to secure the highest level of funding ever for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The annual government appropriations bill also includes increased funding for affordable housing, health care, and public transit, as well as Native Hawaiian health and education programs.

The bill passed the House of Representatives today and is expected to pass the Senate in the coming days.


Native Hawaiian Housing – $22.3 million, a $20.3 million increase from last year. As Chairman of both the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing, Schatz worked to secure the highest level of funding ever for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program, which provides financial assistance for Native Hawaiian families to obtain new homes, make renovations, build community facilities, and receive housing services, including counseling, financial literacy and other critical resources to address housing disparities.

Affordable Housing – $36.8 million, a $2 million increase from last year. This funding includes Public Housing, Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnership, and HOPWA programs, which provide resources to help communities build and maintain affordable housing.

Bus and Transit – $16 billion (nationwide), a $3 billion increase from last year. This funding is distributed among the states and counties for the operation and capital costs associated with the operation of public transit systems, including the Maui Bus, TheBus, Kauai Bus, Hele-On Bus, and TheHandi-Van fleets.

Native Hawaiian Health Care – $22 million, a $1.5 million increase from last year. Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems, as part of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Program, provide critical access to health education, promotion, disease prevention, and basic primary care services for thousands of Native Hawaiians. This funding will support five health centers on Hawai‘i Island, Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Oahu.

Native Hawaiian Education – $38.9 million, a $1.5 million increase from last year. This funding supports programs that strengthen Native Hawaiian culture, improve levels of educational attainment, and enhance family and community involvement in education. President Trump proposed eliminating funding for Native Hawaiian education programs in his budget. Senator Schatz included a provision to allow funds to be used for construction, renovation, and modernization of public schools that predominantly serve Native Hawaiian students. Senator Schatz also included a provision fixing the restriction on use of funds for indirect administrative costs.

Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence – $1 million, new funding. The Domestic Violence Resource Network, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, will establish a new state resource center dedicated to reducing disparities and strengthening domestic violence intervention and prevention efforts for Native Hawaiians.

Native American Language Preservation – $14 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. This funding supports Native American language preservation activities under the Administration for Native Americans, and includes $5.5 million for Native American language immersion schools as authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Veterans Affairs – $97.5 billion (nationwide), a $7.5 billion increase from last year. Funding will be used to:

  • Strengthen the VA Pacific Island Health Care System’s ability to better serve women veterans;
  • Continue to address major and minor construction requirements and address ongoing non-recurring maintenance challenges;
  • Expand VA telehealth services for veterans in rural and remote areas, including increased access to transportation benefits to VA or VA-authorized care facilities;
  • Increase investment in medical research to include new research in areas like toxic exposure, traumatic brain injury, and precision oncology;
  • Provide support for caregivers of severely injured veterans while simultaneously allowing the VA to quickly expand the program and address barriers to use; and
  • Expand support to homeless veterans and their families, many experiencing housing insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

Energy Transitions Initiative – $10 million, a $7 million increase from last year. The Energy Transitions Initiative helps remote and island communities design their own clean energy and resilience solutions to address high energy costs and reliability issues, with help from world-class U.S. Department of Energy experts. The program recently gave awards to Kauai and Honolulu.

Microgrids for Underserved and Indigenous Communities – $10 million (nationwide), new funding. This new funding will create a research and development program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, focused on microgrid-related technologies in underserved and Indigenous communities. The program will aim to provide replicable microgrid solutions to address the broad array of reliability and price challenges facing remote and island communities throughout the United States.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement – an estimated $6 million, an increase of $173,000. Funding to build and strengthen the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s abilities to effectively respond to public health threats. This funding level will help restore and maintain capacity at health departments, modernize data systems, and advance laboratory capacity.

Hospital Preparedness Program – an estimated $1.4 million, a $70,000 increase from last year. This program is the primary source of federal funding for health care system preparedness and response. The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response program helps to build coalitions of health care and response organizations to respond to emergencies and disasters.

Immunizations – an estimated $2.1 million, a $120,000 increase from last year. Provides funding to the Hawai‘i Department of Health to purchase vaccines for children, adolescents, and adults. The Section 317 Program helps achieve national immunization coverage targets and reduce disease.

Native American Language Immersion Schools and Program – $9.4 million (nationwide), a $1.5 million increase from last year. This funding supports the Native American language immersion grant program and the State-Tribal Education Partnership program. Senator Schatz co-authored the legislation to create new grants for Native American immersion schools and programs.

Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native-Serving Institutions – $21.3 million to Hawai‘i and Alaska, a $2.3 million increase from last year. This program provides funding and vital support to Hawai‘i’s colleges and universities, enabling them to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native Hawaiian students.

Compact of Free Association Impact – $5 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. The United States has entered into the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the governments of the Freely Associated States (FAS), which are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. These Compacts allow FAS citizens to live in the United States and receive certain benefits. This funding will help Hawai‘i provide those benefits to FAS citizens who live and work in the state.

Japanese American Confinement Sites, including Honouliuli – $3.4 million (nationwide), a $250,000 increase from last year. Funding will support Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grants. JACS grants support the preservation of Japanese American internment camps, including the Honouliuli National Monument, through partnerships with local preservation groups. Grants may also be used to encourage and support the research, interpretation, and preservation of internment camps to help prevent the injustice of internment from being repeated.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions – $10.9 million (nationwide), a $5.8 million increase from last year. This program provides funding and vital support to Hawai‘i’s colleges and universities, enabling them to improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

National Estuarine Research Reserve, including He‘eia – $29.7 million (nationwide), a $1.2 million increase from last year. Funding will be shared among system sites, including the He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve. This site demonstrates the value of Native Hawaiian taro cultivation and fishpond aquaculture to maintain a healthy ecosystem. It is viewed by NOAA to be a model site because of its seamless integration of science and culture.

Center for Indigenous Innovation and Equity – an estimated $1.5 million, a $500,000 increase from last year. Funding supports the Office of Minority Health, which funds the University of Hawai‘i, in partnership with other academic institutions, to provide education, service and policy development, and research to advance health equity among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations.

Impact Aid Program – $52 million, a $1.8 million increase from last year. The estimated Impact Aid funding will provide the Hawai‘i Department of Education with the resources to help finance the education of federally-connected children. Impact Aid funds a range of programs, including efforts to retain highly qualified teachers, adequate technology, facilities renovation, and maintenance of transportation fleets.

Native American Workforce Programs – $57 million (nationwide), a $1.5 million increase from last year. This funding supports programs that provide quality employment and training services to Native Hawaiian organizations, tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, and Indian controlled organizations serving unemployed and low income Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives. 

Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native Culture and Art – $1.5 million (Hawai‘i and Alaska), a $250,000 increase from last year. Under the National Recreation and Preservation programs, Senator Schatz secured funding for grants to nonprofit organizations or institutions that support programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development.

State Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service Operations – $2.9 billion (nationwide), a $285 million increase from last year. This funding is provided to states for the administration of their unemployment insurance systems and operational capacity.

Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, Sea Turtles, and False Killer Whales Protection – $10.9 million, a $500,000 increase from last year. This funding will continue to support monk seal conservation and recovery, with further research on vaccination and disease prevention (morbillivirus and toxoplasmosis), and a resumption of seal populations surveys. The funding will also support sea turtle conservation activities such as continued monitoring of endangered turtle populations as the climate and marine environment change. Finally, the funding will support research on how to minimize false killer whale injuries from hooks, and improving the understanding of the health and status of the stock.

Airport Agricultural Inspections – $34 million (nationwide), a $866,000 increase from last year. In Hawai‘i, this program helps to fund federal agricultural inspectors at airports on Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and Hawai‘i Island. It is critical to conduct inspections at the neighbor island airports so that passengers can directly connect to flights to the mainland.

East Maui Rainforest – $2 million, new funding. Funding from the Forest Legacy Program which will go towards efforts to protect and preserve the East Maui Rainforest.

Haleakala National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park – $6.3 million, new funding. Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund which includes allocations for Haleakala National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.

Coffee Leaf Rust Research – $1.2 million (nationwide), new funding. This funding will support development of science-based management strategies, extension services, and research on varieties of coffee that are resistant to coffee leaf rust.

State of the Birds Research – $3.8 million, a $250,000 increase from last year. State of the Birds activities are dedicated to stopping the bird extinction crisis in Hawai‘i. More than 90 Hawaiian bird species have gone extinct, and nine listed Hawaiian bird species are currently in decline. These funds are crucial to prevent further extinctions as climate change, habitat degradation and destruction, and other human and environmental impacts threaten to reach crisis levels.

Tropical Grazing Land Pest Management – $1 million, new funding. This funding will support science-based pest management strategies for invasive insect species that affect tropical grazing lands, such as the two-lined spittlebug attacking Hawai'i Island's pasture lands.

Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers – $3 million (nationwide), a $500,000 increase in funding from last year. This funding reimburses geographically disadvantaged producers in Hawai‘i, Alaska, and insular areas with a portion of the cost to transport agricultural commodities or inputs used to produce an agricultural commodity.

Clean Energy Research for the Military – $27.5 million, a $2.5 million increase from last year. Hawai‘i continues to lead in clean energy technology and implementation, which will pay dividends to our state, our economy, and our national security. This funding supports the Navy’s alternative energy research programs, including those in Hawai‘i that are working to make the Navy and its installations more resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Senator Schatz worked to secure $27.5 million in funding for the Navy’s alternative energy research and development, which was not part of the president’s budget.

Environmental Restoration on Formerly Used Defense Sites – $292 million (nationwide), a $3.9 million increase from last year. This funding supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ continued efforts to identify and remove unexploded ordnance at former military sites across the neighbor islands and to ensure that military training and activities remain in balance with Hawai‘i’s local needs.


Highway and Transportation – $49.1 billion (nationwide). This funding is distributed from the Highway Trust Fund to states for highway maintenance and new construction of bridges, roads, and bike and pedestrian paths.

East-West Center – $19.7 million. Senator Schatz worked to protect funding for the East-West Center, which directly supports U.S. engagement in the Indo Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue with countries in the region. It is the only U.S. institution that provides a multilateral approach through research and exchange programs.

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument – $1.2 million. This funding supports NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary program to provide science-based management, research, and education for sixteen sites, including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Tsunami Program – $27.5 million (nationwide). Program provides funding to coastal states for preparedness activities such as inundation mapping, disaster planning, and tsunami education. Funding includes support for tsunami monitoring, forecasts, and a grant program, which states can compete for, to prepare inundation maps and assist with outreach and education. Hawai‘i relies on all three components of the program.

Homeland Defense Radar-Hawai‘i – $75 million. This funding will allow the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to continue to develop a homeland defense radar to be sited in Hawai‘i following the outcome of the environmental impact review. When completed, the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawai‘i will optimize MDA’s ability to detect, track, discriminate, and intercept missile threats, making it increasingly difficult for North Korea and other states to credibly threaten Hawai‘i and the U.S. mainland.

Macadamia Nut Health Initiative – $1 million. This funding will support research to combat and control the felted macadamia nut coccid to improve the production of this iconic Hawaiian crop.

Food Security Microgrants – $2 million. This funding will go towards helping individuals and groups in Hawai‘i purchase tools, soil, seeds, plants, animals, composting units, gardening systems, and other necessities for growing and preserving food. The funds can also be used to expand areas under cultivation, extend the growing season, build or repair livestock fencing, travel to agricultural education programs, expand the sale of locally grown crops and meats, and to engage in other activities that increase food security.

Coral Reef Conservation – $33 million (nationwide). This funding supports NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, which addresses the top threats to coral reef ecosystems in Hawai‘i and across the country. Working with partners, NOAA develops place-based strategies, measures the effectiveness of management efforts, and builds capacity among reef managers globally.

STEM Apprenticeship Grant Program – $2 million (nationwide). This funding enables EDA provide grants through a program created by Senator Schatz for communities seeking to create or expand STEM apprenticeships. The Maui Economic Development Board received $300,000 through the program.


Post Office Service – The bill guarantees that no funds may be used by the United States Postal Service to close small rural and other small post offices, including post offices in Hakalau, Lihue, Hana, and Kalaupapa.

Native Hawaiian Health Research – The bill includes a provision that encourages the NIH office to prioritize addressing the research needs of Native Hawaiians and partner with entities with experience working closely with Native Hawaiian communities and organizations, and develop Native Hawaiian researchers.

Native American Language Resource Center – $500,000 (nationwide), new funding. This new funding will support the establishment of a Native American Language Resource Center (NALRC) to provide best practices and curricula development on Native American language education, including the Native Hawaiian language. Senator Schatz introduced legislation to permanently authorize the NALRC program.

High Performance Computing Modernization Program – $229.1 million. This funding supports DoD’s regional supercomputing centers, including the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC). Working with Committee leaders, Senator Schatz was able to increase funding for the program by $40 million above the president’s budget to ensure that DoD has the funding it needs to upgrade the technology at MHPCC so that it can continue to support the military’s current and future high-performance computing needs in Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Project HOPE Opportunity Probation with Enforcement – $5 million (nationwide), a $500,000 increase from last year. Based on Hawai‘i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program, this high-intensity supervision program reduces probation violations by drug offenders and others at high risk of recidivism. The funds will support the existing federal program to replicate the HOPE model and provide $500,000 to establish an institute to provide training, technical assistance, and best practices to assist other jurisdictions with the program.