Omnibus legislation includes $15 million for Children and Media Research Advancement Act to study effects of media and technology on children; funding to implement U.S.-Taiwan fellowship

Washington (December 23, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement following passage of the 2023 Fiscal Year omnibus spending package, which included major federal investments to advance several of the Senator’s key priorities across climate, health, infrastructure, international cooperation, and media and technology research:

“As we close out the 117th Congress, we have successfully delivered yet another major legislative package to American families in time for the holidays. This omnibus package not only ensures essential government services remain funded into the new year, but it also directs major investments to improve the health, safety, resiliency, and prosperity of millions of people in Massachusetts and across the country. This package writes into law significant progress in my continued efforts to safeguard coastal communities from the threats posed by climate change, to fund critical research that will shed light on the adverse impacts of media and technology on the physical and psychological development of young people, to advance crucial scientific research on the road to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, to reverse the cruel trend of decreased life expectancy due to the scourge of the opioid epidemic, to increase international cooperation with our partners in Taiwan, and so much more. I was proud to vote for this package, and as we look ahead to a new Congress in the new year, I will continue fighting for bold, progressive legislation that reigns in the greed of Big Oil and Big Tech, and ensures that we create an economy that works for all.”

The FY23 omnibus includes funding for several of Senator Markey’s key priorities, including:

  • Strengthening U.S. ties with Taiwan and our partners in Indo-Pacific with $34 million in funding for the American Institute in Taiwan, including a directive to use their FY23 funding to implement Senator Markey’s Taiwan Fellowship Act, legislation that will establish a fellowship exchange program for U.S. federal government employees in all three branches of government to learn, live, and work in Taiwan for a length of up to two years, and strengthen the people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Taiwan. The omnibus also includes a landmark $1.8 billion to fund Senator Markey’s 2018 legislation the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), as well as the Indo-Pacific Strategy, to strengthen U.S. partnerships on pressing global issues with counterparts in the region. Senator Markey held eight subcommittee hearings from 2017 to 2019 stressing the importance of laying out the ARIA framework and directing funding and resources to strengthen U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Investing in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias with a historic $226 million funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for a total of more than $3.7 billion. These investments are vital for accomplishing the goals outlined in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act, which Senator Markey authored.
  • Combatting gun violence with $25 million in funding for continued gun violence prevention research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIH, building upon Senator Markey’s years-long push in previous spending packages to ensure that the epidemic of gun violence can be thoroughly studied and understood in an effort to save lives.
  • Advancing scientific research and innovation by securing nearly $10 billion in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). As he does each year, Senator Markey led his colleagues in a letter to Senate appropriators requesting substantial investment in research. This year, Senator Markey requested at least $11 billion to be secured for NSF operations and grants to recipients in Massachusetts and across the nation in support of critical advancements in material and life sciences research. 
  • Developing a universal flu vaccine with $270 million for developing a vaccine that will protect against multiple strains of flu virus and offer longer lasting protections. This represents an increase of $25 million, building upon Senator Markey’s prior leadership in the fight to secure a universal flu vaccine through his Flu Vaccine Act.
  • Supporting long COVID patients with $10 million dedicated to research, awareness efforts, diagnosis, treatment, and support for people living with long COVID. Senator Markey has fought for this funding as a co-author of the CARE for Long COVID Act and the TREAT Long COVID Act, two pieces of legislation that would bolster federal efforts to support long COVID research and patients.
  • Combatting the opioid epidemic and overdose crisis by shortening wait times for patients to qualify for methadone medication treatment and making it easier for methadone clinics to deliver methadone medication to people rather than requiring them to travel to a clinic. Senator Markey championed these provisions in his Opioid Treatment Access Act. The omnibus package also includes language to improve training for medical professionals prescribing certain controlled substances, including opioids, as Senator Markey has advocated for through his Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act.
  • Deterring the flow of fentanyl into the United States with $70 million for non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology to ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the necessary resources to detect, interdict, and prevent the trafficking of fentanyl and other opioids into the United States.
  • Studying the effects of social media on children through the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act. This bipartisan legislation led by Senator Markey will direct the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to lead a research program on technology and media’s effects on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. Through the omnibus, the NIH and HHS will receive $15 million for the first year of this new initiative.
  • Ensuring continuity of health care for children incarcerated before trial by including language that will allow states to maintain their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, as Senator Markey has advocated in his in Equity in Pretrial Health Coverage Act and Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act.
  • Ensuring victims of “SNAP skimming” have their benefits repaid by requiring the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promulgate regulations to reimburse individuals and families whose SNAP benefits were stolen.
  • Investing in walking, biking, and transit infrastructure by providing $45 million in funding for Senator Markey’s Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, which was authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act but not previously funded. The program will connect walking and biking infrastructure to accessible, affordable, and safe active transportation networks that allow people to reach destinations within a community, as well as travel between communities, without ever needing a car.
  • Reauthorizing the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission until 2029, through passage of Senator Markey’s legislation, to ensure Massachusetts communities are empowered to continue providing their input to the Secretary of the Interior about matters related to the development and operation of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
  • Ensuring underserved communities benefit from the deployment of EV charging infrastructure. The omnibus includes language to encourage community engagement and to ensure frontline communities and those living in multi-family or affordable housing can benefit from the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as Senator Markey had urged in a letter to appropriators and delineated in his Community Vehicle Charging Act.
  • Investing in an equitable and resilient future for U.S. fisheries with an historic $101 million funding increase for related activities, for a total of $345 million. The omnibus includes Senator Markey’s requested funding increases for the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program, which is responsible for promoting and developing sustainable and robust U.S. fisheries, as well as $1 million in funding for his Young Fisherman’s Development Act to kickstart the nation’s first competitive grant program for the education and training of the next generation of fishermen.
  • Promoting the conservation and protection of wildlife with $142 million in funding for the Multinational Species Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs Program and Office of Law Enforcement, priorities for which Senator Markey led a letter of support, as well as $53 million in funding for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sustained Ocean Observations and Monitoring program, which Senator Markey requested funding for in order to support observations necessary to measure and monitor climate change impacts.
  • Protecting communities from breathing unsafe air with language supportive of community air quality monitors, as Senator Markey has fought for through his Environmental Justice Air Quality Monitoring Act, to ensure carbon emissions and pollutants can be tracked and recorded as federal agencies work to direct climate and clean energy investments to communities across the country.