March 27, 2024

Minibus Appropriations Law Includes Whitehouse Priorities on Fighting Opioids, Protecting Oceans, and Fighting Kleptocracy

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today highlighted significant policy advancements in the areas of fighting the opioid crisis, protecting the oceans, and fighting kleptocracy that he worked to include in the minibus appropriations bill that was signed into law by President Biden over the weekend.  Across both appropriations packages passed this month, Whitehouse secured $79.4 million in earmark funding for community projects across Rhode Island. 

“This funding bill not only keeps the federal government open and delivers direct investments for Rhode Islanders, but it advances my work to address the opioid crisis, protect the oceans, and fight kleptocracy,” said Whitehouse. “From investing in the priorities created by my landmark Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to better supporting local fishermen, this funding bill includes progress on a lot of Ocean State priorities.”

The minibus included the following provisions:

Addressing the Opioid Crisis 

  • $111 million for Medication-Assisted Treatment for prescription drugs and opioid addiction.  Whitehouse’s bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act became law in 2016 and continues guiding the federal response to the opioid addiction crisis.
  • $48.6 billion in base funding for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $300 million.  Funding includes a $5 million increase for opioid research, $12.5 million for a new palliative care program, and an increase of $100 million for Alzheimer’s research.
  • Over $400 million to improve detection and seizure of fentanyl with non-intrusive inspection technologies at ports of entry.  The law also provides Homeland Security Investigations with an increase of nearly $60 million to combat fentanyl and transnational criminal organizations.  As Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Whitehouse has consistently pushed for an increased focus on investigations into the financial networks used by cartels and producers of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. 
  • Requires Homeland Security Investigations to report on establishing a formal Cross-Border Illicit Finance Center.  Whitehouse’s Combating Cross-border Financial Crime Act calls for the establishment of this center to disrupt drug trafficking profits.    
  • Directs the Office of National Drug Control Policy to resume its illicit crop imagery program with the National Security Council to help the U.S. monitor the nearly $70 billion cocaine and poppy cultivation industries.  In Rhode Island, about 50 percent of overdose deaths involve cocaine.

Protecting the Oceans and Coastal Innovation

  • $47.5 million to address ocean plastic pollution and other marine debris.  As co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus, Whitehouse is leading efforts to combat the plastic pollution filling the oceans.  Working with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Whitehouse passed the bipartisan Save Our Seas Act and its sequel, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act.
  • $36.7 million for Centers of Excellence, including the Center of Excellence for Coastal Resilience, which includes Whitehouse-backed language to expand partnerships with research and educational institutions.
  • Combats illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by taking steps to improve security cooperation with island States on IUU fishing.  Last year, Whitehouse reintroduced the Fighting Foreign Illegal Seafood Harvest (FISH) Act to combat foreign illegal, pirate fishing by blacklisting offending vessels from U.S. ports and waters. 
  • Encourages the U.S. Navy to ensure the release of and public access to unclassified and declassified oceanographic data, including information about pirate fishing vessels.   Whitehouse has long urged the U.S. Navy to be more involved in fighting pirate fishing around the world. 
  • $281.4 million for the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, which provides FEMA with the ability to fully implement the recommendations of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council.  The law also includes a Whitehouse request for increased coordination with state agencies during implementation. 
  • $10 million for the Direct Air Capture and Blue Carbon Removal Program under the SEA FUEL Act, which Whitehouse passed into law.

Fighting Kleptocracy

  • $190.19 million for the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).  Funding will support implementation and enforcement of key anti-money laundering and anti-corruption reforms, including Whitehouse’s Corporate Transparency Act, which unmasks the true owners of anonymous shell companies, as well as rulemakings to extend anti-money laundering safeguards to the real estate and private investment sectors.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921