U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards says he is pleased that his colleagues in the Senate passed the 2008 Appropriations Bill, which will fund a total of nine projects aimed at improving the way of life for local residents and U.S. citizens abroad.
"This bill will ensure that Texas A&M and its system will continue to play a nationally important role in protecting our nation," Edwards said.
With the bill, the District 17 congressman has secured $2 million for A&M's nuclear training program that he believes will help Homeland Security in combating nuclear terrorism.
Edwards says, "Aggie nuclear engineers will be working with the Bush School to develop the next generation of nuclear policy makers."
Breaches discovered in the nation's food safety procedures is one reason why $21 million in appropriations has been earmarked for agricultural research at A&M. Edwards says the university's single finalist for president, Dr. Elsa Murano, has done a fine job in continuing to promote A&M's reputation for food safety techniques and training within the agricultural industry.
"She has really made food safety and protection a high priority and A&M will play a very important role in this national efforts to protect our food supply," Edwards said.
The bill also designates more than $500,000 for the Texas Transportation Institute under the direction of the Brazos Valley Transportation Management Center. The money will be used to study ways to alleviate congestion in the Bryan-College Station area.
On a historic note, the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget will increase by $6.6 billion, a record budget increase authored by Edwards. Edwards says the money will the VA to fund veterans benefits.
"It means more doctors and nurses at our VA hospitals and clinics," stressed Edwards. "It means we're going be able to take care of the mental healthcare needs of our great troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan."
The congressman says the Senate did make a few changes to the bill and returned it to the House to have the revisions approved. Edwards expects his fellow House members to approve the changes expeditiously and have the final draft on President Bush's desk this week.