Simpson Secures Idaho Provisions in Omnibus Legislation
Simpson Secures Idaho Provisions in Omnibus Legislation
INL, PILT, and sage grouse listing prohibition included along with $23.6 million to Idaho projects
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today applauded the House passage of H.R. 2471, which will fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022 and includes numerous critical benefits for Idaho and Western States.
“While this process was far from perfect, I voted yes on this legislation because the final package contains huge wins for Idaho and the nation. Those wins include record funding for the Idaho National Laboratory, an increase in funding to address the ongoing border crisis, a prohibition against listing the sage grouse as an endangered species, maintaining enacted pro-life protections, and bolstering our nation’s military readiness.”
As Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee and a member of the House Interior and Environment Subcommittee, Simpson had a key role in deciding funding levels for Department of Energy and Department of Interior programs, including the following highlights:
Energy and Water Development
“The Energy and Water portion of H.R. 2471 contains strong support for our national nuclear security programs,” said Simpson. “Efforts to guard the energy sector against cyber attack are also increased significantly. The investments made in the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Idaho National Laboratory will sustain continued U.S. leadership in nuclear energy research and development and pave the way for the U.S. to both develop and export the next generation of nuclear reactors. These reactors will advance both a clean energy future and American energy independence, which is now more critical than ever.”
Idaho-specific wins in the Energy and Water portion of H.R. 2471 include:
· $1.65 billion for the Office of Nuclear Energy.
· Over $336 million to maintain and upgrade INL facilities, including $41.85 million for the Sample Preparation Laboratory to be built at INL.
· An additional $10 million over the FY21 enacted level for megawatt-scale research and development and the MARVEL microreactor program.
· $400 million for the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and Advanced Small Modular Reactor Program, including a $75 million increase above FY21 for risk reduction awards.
· $25 million over the FY21 level for the National Reactor Innovation Center at INL.
· Initiation of a new program to ensure a domestic supply of high-assay, low enriched uranium that will be necessary for many of the advanced reactor designs currently under development, and continued funding for material recovery work at INL.
· Funds to expand INL’s leadership role to protect the electric grid and other critical infrastructure from cyber-attack.
· $442.9 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project.
Interior and Environment
“Nearly two-thirds of the land in our state is managed by the federal government and thus land management policies and decisions have a direct impact on Idahoans,” said Simpson. “I continue to use my senior position on the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that the agencies under its jurisdiction are focusing their resources on the core mission programs. The Interior and Environment portion of H.R. 2471 includes many provisions important to Idaho, including funding for wildfire suppression and mitigation efforts, and an Endangered Species Act listing prohibition for the greater sage grouse. I have fought long and hard to ensure that this listing prohibition remains in annual appropriations bills, and this year, despite Democrats controlling both Congress and White House, I was able to include it once again. This prohibition provides certainty to Idahoans who live, work, and recreate on our public lands.”
· Provides full funding 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 receive more than $30 million.
· Language that prevents listing of sage grouse as an endangered species and provides $70 million in funding for the Bureau of Land Management towards sage grouse conservation.
· Provides robust funding for the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to fight wildfires.
· Includes $63 million to the U.S. Geological Survey for the Minerals Resources Program, which delivers information to promote sustainable development and responsible stewardship of our natural resources and critical minerals important to the Nation’s economic and national security.
· Provides $1 million to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.
· Continues a provision which directs EPA, U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), and DOE to establish clear policies regarding the carbon neutrality of biomass which is an important energy source and part of an all of the above energy strategy.
· Includes funding for Native American communities to help improve infrastructure, health care needs, and emergency services, including $7 million to address the inadequate facility needs of the Fort Hall Fire Department and EMS operations.
· Language that directs the Bureau of Land Management to work with the State of Idaho regarding aquifer recharge.
“We depend on agriculture to meet so many of the needs we have as a nation, and now more than ever, we have a responsibility to ensure that Idaho’s agriculture sector remains strong,” said Simpson. “Generations of Idahoans have helped to make agriculture the backbone of Idaho’s economy and we must continue to invest in our producers and ranchers to ensure their operations are sustainable and efficient. This bill shows strong support for the Sheep Station in Dubois, ID and supports the future of the research facility. I’m proud of the funding in this bill for continued research for potatoes, grain, and other commodities. This research is vital as we work to secure our domestic supply of food and to expand the trade reach of Idaho products around the world.”
· Includes language that supports the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois and acknowledges the work of the diverse stakeholders Congressman Simpson convened to support current research to collaborate on future research objectives.
· Includes $6.5 million is provided for the pale cyst nematode within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
· 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 for potato and wheat research.
· Includes language urging the FDA to enforce standards of identity for dairy products to ensure that only animal-derived foods and beverages are labeled as dairy products.
· Provides funding for barley research infrastructure to address threats to the production of high-quality barley.
“President Biden’s border crisis is a serious problem that demands an urgent response,” said Simpson. “In the absence of Administration action, this funding bill provides federal agencies working at the southern border with the resources they desperately need to address this growing crisis.”
· Increases Department of Homeland Security funding by approximately 11%.
· Increases Customs and Border Protection (CBP) funding by $800 million over enacted levels.
· Increases ICE funding by $400 million.
· Funds President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program.
· Increases funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to prevent cyber-attacks.
· Funds six new x-ray systems to speed cargo processing and enhance CBP’s ability to detect narcotics, including fentanyl.
“Throughout the fiscal year 2022 process, Republicans in Congress have been clear that we would not accept a flat budget for the Department of Defense,” said Simpson. “At a time when Russian and Chinese aggression is on the rise, the Department of Defense must have the funding it needs to deter our adversaries and protect the homeland. This bill rejects Democrats’ efforts to nearly flat-fund the Department of Defense and provides our military and our troops with the resources they need.”
· 2.7% pay raise for military members.
· $516 million for on-base school construction.
· $37.35 billion for medical and health care programs of the Department of Defense including an addition of $577.5 million for cancer research.
· $10 million for military dental research.
· $1 billion for Iron Dome improvements to protect Israel.
· $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
“Congress’ responsibility to provide for the common defense doesn’t stop with aircraft, tanks, and weapons systems,” said Simpson. “We must also provide high quality military housing and facilities, and this bill includes funding to build up Idaho National Guard training capabilities and ensure the long-term viability of Mountain Home Air Force Base. It also fulfills our promises to veterans to provide the quality health care and benefits they have earned.”
· $6.5 million for the construction of an Air National Guard Medical Training Facility at Gowen Field, Idaho.
· $15 million for the construction of an Army National Guard Readiness Center in Jerome, Idaho.
· $33.8 million for a Water Treatment Plant and Pump Station, Mountain Home, Idaho.
· $1.4 billion for military family housing.
· $97.5 billion for veterans’ medical care.
· Funding to support service-connected compensation payments to 5.5 million veterans.
· Pension payments for more than 350,000 veterans and survivors.
· $2.5 billion for the implementation of the VA electronic health record system.
· Funding to address the claims backlog for service-connected health concerns related to toxic exposures.
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education:
“Though House Democrats sought to strip important pro-life riders from this appropriations bill, I am proud and relieved that Congressional Republicans were able to maintain all existing pro-life funding restrictions across all twelve appropriations bills,” said Simpson. “I voted yes on the L-HHS-Ed bill to preserve pro-life funding restrictions. This is a major victory for life and allows us to fund other important programs such as Impact Aid, cancer research programs, and mental health and suicide prevention programs.”
· Maintains the Hyde and Weldon amendments to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions and to protect conscience rights.
· $100,000 for College of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls, Idaho for workforce training program and equipment in Employment and Training Administration.
· $1.325 million for University of Idaho Rinker Rock Creek Ranch for education, research training, and equipment for rangeland management and animal science in Higher Education.
· $1.56 billion for the Department of Education Impact Aid program.
· $1.14 billion for the TRIO program in the Department of Education.
· $45 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $2.25 billion over FY21;
· $19 million for the CDC Newborn Screening Quality Assurance Program.
· $60.5 million for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, an increase of $3 million above the FY21 enacted level.
Community Project Funding
Congressman Simpson also singlehandedly secured over $23.6 million in the Omnibus for eight different Idaho projects that he announced earlier this week.
“These are worthy projects that I was proud to support,” said Simpson. “Federal spending is too high—I am aware of that, and I will continue to push for more fiscal responsibility in Congress. It is important to note, however, that in this package, Republicans successfully restrained Democrats’ wasteful spending, slashing the administration’s requested increase in domestic spending by nearly two-thirds. But at the end of the day, I will fight for well vetted, impactful Idaho projects over letting those funds go to California for Nancy Pelosi’s progressive wish list or to New York for AOC’s Green New Deal every day of the week. And make no mistake—that is exactly what happens when Members do not apply for funding for their own district’s priorities; San Francisco liberals win and Idahoans are left to pick up the tab.”
For more information on the projects that Congressman Simpson put forward for funding, click here.
The House held two votes on the Omnibus package, divided into security/defense and nondefense related portions. The defense portions of H.R. 2471 passed by a vote of 361-69 and the nondefense portions passed by vote of 260-171. The combined final package passed the Senate Thursday night by a vote of 68-31 and awaits President Biden’s signature into law. Links to the bill text and reports can be found here.