Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed all of their 12 appropriations bills on Capitol Hill. Ridge Policy Group was pleased to see several major wins for which we have been advocating on behalf of our clients.
This has been a year-long effort, requiring a comprehensive government relations strategy. We have met with decision makers, supported public affairs efforts, worked with state governments to garner support, and more. This ultimately led to the inclusion of the below items in the House Committee passed bills.
Support for United States’ Economic Development Activities
- More than $433 million for the programs and administrative expenses of the Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA has been a key agency in our financial and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
- $10 million for a STEM Apprenticeship Program at the Economic Development Administration, an increase of $8 million from last fiscal year. Our partner, the University City Science Center, received funding from EDA’s STEM Apprenticeship Pilot Program, known as the EDA STEM Talent Challenge. The Science Center will expand the Building an Understanding of Lab Basics (BULB) program to provide a mix of virtual and on-the-job training to prepare Philadelphia residents for biotech careers. The Science Center, along with us as their government affairs consulting firm, are one of the only groups advocating for this important funding.
- $50 million for the Build to Scale Program at EDA, a $12 million increase. Providing sufficient funding for the Build to Scale program allows EDA to continue its investment in high-growth regional strategies. It helps leverage other public and private resources intended to accelerate innovation, job creation, and regional economic development.
- Direction to EDA to add additional priority to those applicants that can demonstrate that they are serving high-poverty areas. This will help to support underserved communities that need additional investment.
Support for Small Businesses
- $10 million for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program at the Small Business Administration (SBA). This program provides one-year funding to organizations to execute state/regional programs that increase the number of SBIR/STTR proposals leading to an increase in the number of SBIR/STTR awards. Pennsylvania has won this funding in the past and our partner, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, currently holds an award. This increase in funding could help ensure that PA receives the funding each year to best support SBIR/STTR companies.
- $10 million for the Regional Innovation Clusters at SBA. Regional innovation funding and programs are essential to any technology commercialization plan. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Regional Innovation Cluster Program supports and grows market-driven ecosystems. The Regional Innovation Clusters program has never been awarded to Pennsylvania, which would drive economic growth within the area.
- $10 million of the Growth Accelerator Program at SBA to accelerators, incubators, and related entrepreneur programs proposing impactful assistance to small businesses.
Health Care Related Funding
- $2 million to establish and oversee a national surveillance system at the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). This will help us to accurately determine the incidence of concussions, particularly among the most vulnerable of Americans—our children and youth. CDC plays a leading role in standardizing evidence-based guidelines for the management of TBI, as well as linking civilian and military populations with TBI services.
- $4 million increase for the Traumatic Brain Injury Program. The TBI State Partnership Grant Program funds states, American Indian Consortia, and territories to improve access to TBI services and supports. The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) TBI Program (PATBI) supports state Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems to empower and advocate on behalf of individuals with TBI.
- Direct funding through Community Project Funding to Woods Services to provide mental health programs and supports
- More than $550 million for Home and Community-Based Supportive Services at the Administration for Community Living, which is $158 million more than last year.
While there are many health care lobbying firms in DC, these examples highlight our particular expertise in disability health issues, in addition to other health care expertise.
Funding to Prevent Future Pandemics
- Many of the programs that help ensure that the federal government is providing full-service preparedness and response activities for biological events, both manmade or naturally occurring, received significant increases. This will help to ensure that we are are better prepared for the next pandemic, such as COVID-19, or another disastrous biological event.
- Specific language to require an interagency diagnostic testing strategy, which is necessary for sustained normalcy and to prevent and respond to future outbreaks.
These are just some of the examples of the legislative wins that our top lobbying firm secured in partnership with our clients. The full House is expected to begin consideration of these bills next week. The Senate in Washington, DC, will begin consideration of their bills in the coming weeks as well. We look forward to continuing our government affairs consulting work to ensure that these provisions are maintained and included in a final package signed into law.
Ridge Policy Group is a top lobbying firm in Washington, DC, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They have an expertise in the appropriations process, providing funding and language to support clients’ goals.