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Shelby-led appropriations committee releases bipartisan FY21 funding proposals important for Alabama

Chaired by U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday released all 12 of its Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) funding measures as well as the subcommittee allocations for the fiscal year.

Shelby, Alabama’s longest-serving senator ever, continues to deliver in historic ways for his home state and the nation through his leadership of the powerful appropriations committee.

Shelby issued a statement regarding the FY21 funding measures, saying, “By and large, these bills are the product of bipartisan cooperation among members of the committee.”

“As negotiations with the House begin in earnest, I look forward to working with Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Member Granger to resolve our differences in a bipartisan manner,” he continued. “Time after time, we have demonstrated our willingness to work together and get the job done. We have before us the opportunity to deliver for the American people once again.”

Wins for the Yellowhammer State included in the measures announced Tuesday include major funding for aerospace and defense related sectors especially important to North Alabama.

For example, the corresponding appropriation measure passed by a House subcommittee earlier this year included significantly less funding for NASA overall and for key Alabama-driven space programs than the Senate measure announced by Shelby.

The Senate measure includes $23.5 billion in funding total for NASA, which is an increase of $866 million above the funding level for the previous year. Meanwhile, the House version had proposed merely level-funding NASA — something about which Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) sounded alarm bells months ago.

Also included in the NASA Senate measure is a funding increase of $689 million for the Artemis Program, $1 billion for the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Human Landing System (HLS) and $120 million to restore funding for NASA’s STEM education programs. Funding levels for the Marshall-managed Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft and associated ground systems remain unchanged from FY20 levels.

Read through all subcommittee allocations here. Yellowhammer News will do a deep dive on the funding measures’ impact on Alabama when a final version passes.

Shelby’s chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Appropriations is a leading reason why it is important for Alabama that Republicans maintain the majority in Congress’ upper chamber. Two senatorial runoffs in Georgia to be held January 5 will determine which party has the majority for the coming term.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn