Both houses of Congress passed a major funding bill Thursday, impacting the entire nation, including the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The investments in this package address some of our nation’s biggest challenges while providing much-needed support to Virgin Islanders,” said V.I. Delegate Stacey Plaskett in a statement.
The version approved in the Senate is nearly identical, but still slightly different from the House version Plaskett voted for.
“I am tremendously pleased to share that the bill averts the Medicaid funding cliff in the Virgin Islands by extending the increased rate of federal funding (83%) for Medicaid in the Virgin Islands through December 13, 2022, averting a sharp decline in the rate of federal Medicaid funding to the Virgin Islands. Additionally, the bill contains the negotiated bipartisan agreement for federal government funding over the remainder of fiscal year 2022, which includes a $6.5 million increase in Department of the Interior assistance to territories,” Plaskett said.
The legislation also contains the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, which reauthorizes programs enacted under the Violence Against Women Act. Plaskett said it includes an amendment to double the minimum amount of funding made available to the Virgin Islands (and the other small U.S. territories) under the Sexual Assault Services Program and the Transitional Housing Assistance Program.
The House bill includes:
• $659,000 to purchase forensic equipment for use by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice Medical Examiner’s Office on St. Croix.
• $960,000 for the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority to improve residential wastewater collection sewers across the territory.
• $750,000 for improvements to the DPNR marine enforcement pier at Krum Bay on St. Thomas.
• $750,000 for improvements to the DPNR marine enforcement pier at Gallows Bay on St. Croix.
• $1,120,000 for the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority to improve wastewater treatment facilities across the territory.
• $1,200,000 for the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority to improve municipal water security infrastructure across the territory.
“The Community Project Funding, along with the Medicaid match and VAWA funding that I and my team were able to secure in this bill responds to some of the most pressing needs in our territory. These investments support underserved areas and foster economic development, making a real difference in the lives of so many in our community,” Plaskett said