National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Commends Enactment of Bipartisan Omnibus Spending Bill

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEC. 18, 2015

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

 

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Commends Enactment of Bipartisan Omnibus Spending Bill

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) commends Congress on the bipartisan passage of a federal spending bill which funds several priority programs for which we had advocated. In particular, we thank the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for their efforts on behalf of our communities.

 

NCAPA had urged Congress not to include any ideological policy riders in this legislation and in particular, no harmful immigration policy riders. We are heartened that overall, Congress came together to perform its basic duty of funding our nation’s government--setting aside partisan conflicts over immigration and refugee policies and continuing to provide critical access to health care services through Planned Parenthood. However, we are disappointed that a concerning provision changing the Visa Waiver Program for nationals from specific countries was included, and we hope that this issue can be addressed next year.

We are especially pleased by the funding for the following priority programs:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to be authorized to use $10 million for its Immigrant Integration and Citizenship program to help immigrants prepare for citizenship.

  • The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS) will be funded at $14.446 million--the amount NCAPA supported and nearly $1.5 million more than the House-proposed level--to address community conflicts resulting from racial and ethnic tensions.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program was funded at $50.9 million--the same level as last year--and has been successful in engaging Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to address chronic disease.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities. It will be funded at $56.7 million, only slightly less than the $57 million level that NCAPA had supported

  • Although the Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) grant program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) were funded at levels lower than NCAPA requested, AANAPISIs received a modest funding increase from last year and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions received a nearly $1 million increase, to $13.8 million--higher than NCAPA had requested. Furthermore, OHC will be funded at the same level as last year.

With this bill now enacted, we look forward to next year and continued support for these vital programs that will improve the livelihood of our communities. We also will continue to advocate for programs such the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program, which unfortunately was not funded this year.

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Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.

 


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