Costa Supports Essential Valley Programs With Omnibus Vote
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, more commonly referred to as “the Omnibus,” by a vote of 256 to 167. The legislation is a government spending bill, in that it funds federal government programs through September 2018 at the new levels established in last month’s budget agreement.
Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who voted in favor of the spending package, noted the vital nature of Congress passing the Omnibus, both for the nation and California’s San Joaquin Valley. “Although this legislation is imperfect, too many Americans and too many people in our Valley would be harmed if we did not pass the Omnibus today.” Rep. Costa continued, “My vote today was a vote for Valley water and agriculture, preventing wildfires, fighting the opioid epidemic, ensuring our children, elderly, and most vulnerable have food, keeping our communities safe, improving education and opportunities for our students, and many other programs and services imperative for our communities. Just as I served so many people of the Valley today, I will continue to fight for other legislation and issues that are also important in our communities, including comprehensive immigration reform and securing permanent legislative protections for DREAMers.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 the House passed today includes:
- $1.48 billion for Reclamation water resources projects, including $20 million for Shasta Dam, $4.35 million for Sites Reservoir, $1.5 million for Temperance Flat Reservoir, $2.2 million for the Friant-Kern Canal, and $3.75 million for the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project
- Funding for agriculture programs and services crucial in the San Joaquin Valley, including $985.1 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, $3.03 billion for agriculture research programs, and $26.45 billion for rural housing loans and rental assistance
- $3.828 billion for wildland fire management and a new funding mechanism for wildfire suppression that will prevent “fire borrowing,” where the government borrows from forest management activities to fight wildfire disasters instead of treating them like other natural disasters
- Funding specifically targeted at improving the safety of water, including $1.693 billion for the Clean Water Fund, $1.163 billion for the Safe Drinking Water Fund, $50 million for new Water Infrastructure for Improvements to the Nation (WIIN) Act programs to address lead in drinking water, and $63 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) grants
- $2.525 billion in new grant funding for highways and $1.5 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER) grants
- $3.365 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which funded $6.3 million in local development in Fresno in 2016 alone
- $5.4 billion for Community Health Centers
- $16.443 billion for education for disadvantaged students
- $1.414 billion for Federal Impact Aid to local schools
- $75 million for Comprehensive School Safety Initiative grants
- $1.83 billion for Career, Technical, and Adult Education programs
- Critical financial assistance to help make college more affordable, including an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award per student and $350 million to cancel loans under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
- $10 billion for Employment and Training services performed within the Department of Labor
- Full funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, which are vital for providing a reliable source of food for the food insecure and vulnerable
- Nearly $4 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, including $130 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response program and $1 billion in new grants to states and Native American tribes to address opioid abuse in their communities
- $2.4 billion for state and local law enforcement activities, including $275 million for the COPS program and $416 million for the Byrne-JAG program
- $295 million for Veterans Employment and Training programs
- $107.709 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration and $70.699 billion for the Veterans Health Administration
- A 2.4% pay increase for men and women serving in the armed forces
The bill also incorporates language and would accomplish the primary goals of two bipartisan legislative initiatives Congressman Costa led in the House of Representatives with the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act (H.R. 4716) and the Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions Act, or ACRE Act (H.R. 5275). The Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act extends veterans burial benefits to Hmong and Lao Americans who served alongside U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, thousands of whom live in the San Joaquin Valley. The ACRE Act exempts agricultural operations from being subject to an emissions reporting requirement intended to regulate severe industrial chemical toxic waste.
For more on the ACRE Act, click here.
For more on the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act, click here.