On Thursday, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported passage of full year fiscal year 2018 funding. While a continuing resolution funds the government until December 2017, full year appropriations must still be passed for the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill was passed by a vote of 211-198 and includes legislation previously passed by the House including Chairman Simpson’s Energy and Water bill which has critical funding for Idaho National Laboratory.
“Today’s legislation is an important step towards finishing fiscal year 2018 appropriations,” said Congressman Simpson. “This bill is an important marker for many Idaho priorities such as PILT, wildfire funding, and provisions that rein in burdensome regulations from the previous Administration. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see that these policies ultimately are signed into law so we can ensure federal agencies can fulfill their missions as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Interior and Environment
- $465 million for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which compensates counties for the losses in property tax as a result of a high percentage of federal land. Idaho counties received $30,054,704 in PILT funding for FY17.
- Full funding for wildfire suppression at the ten-year average of $3.4 billion for the Department of Interior and the Forest Service;
- Increases funding for hazardous fuels management which is vital to preventing catastrophic wildfires;
- Language that authorizes the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of the Army to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule;
- Language which prevents listing of sage grouse as an endangered species;
- Language that directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue two final rules removing recovered wolves in Wyoming and in the Western Great Lakes from the endangered species list;
- Language making litigation costs more transparent and extending requirements that litigants exhaust administrative review before litigating grazing issues in Federal court;
- Funding for the Rural Water Technical Assistance program to help small communities provide safe and affordable drinking water;
- Language that prohibits a ban on issuing new closures of public lands to hunting and recreational shooting, except in the case of public safety;
- Language that directs the Bureau of Land Management to work with the State of Idaho regarding aquifer recharge;Language that expresses concern with the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service court decision and encourages the Administration to work with Congress to find a solution. Congressman Simpson introduced legislation to reverse the court decision which has threatened 80 vegetative management projects and hundreds of millions of board feet.
“Whether it is resources for our farmers and ranchers or research that guarantees a safe and efficient food supply, USDA plays a vital role in Idaho,” said Congressman Simpson. “The Sheep Station in Dubois is important to Idaho, and language in the bill gives stakeholders and ARS the opportunity to come together to work on a viable, long-term future.”
- Provides funding for the USDA Rural Utilities Service Circuit Rider program which helps fund rural communities to provide safe and affordable drinking water;
- Provides funding for National Institutes of Food and Agriculture potato and wheat research;
- Continues previous years’ language authored by Congressman Simpson that blocks the President’s proposed closure of the U.S. Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois, Idaho;
- Language directing the FDA to develop a standard identity for dairy based on existing standards which is similar to Congressman Simpson’s bipartisan DAIRY Pride Act.
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
“In Idaho, Impact Aid is important to the counties and school districts that are impacted by federal activities and I’m glad this bill honors that responsibility,” said Congressman Simpson. “I’m also extremely pleased with the funding increase for NIH. Simply put, this money saves lives and improves the health of Americans.”
- $1.3 billion—a $5 million dollar increase over FY17 for Impact Aid which benefits Idaho counties and schools;
- Provides for a $1.1 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue lifesaving research initiatives;
- Provides funding to address the nation’s opioid addiction crisis through prevention and treatment initiatives.
The House passed bills will now be conferenced with their Senate companions to finalize fiscal year 2018 funding by the December 8th expiration of the continuing resolution.