Press Release – Congress passed a government funding bill Thursday that would help strengthen a number of American priorities, including border security, defense and support for communities and education.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., voted in favor of the bill, which the Senate passed with bipartisan support and which stayed within the budget caps set to control annual federal spending. The legislation also provided funding for communities in Wyoming for afterschool programs, low income home energy assistance and payments to counties and local governments that lose tax revenue due to federal land ownership.
“Today Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill that provides billions in additional funding for our military, the largest border security increase in a decade and support for programs on which communities and families throughout Wyoming rely,” Enzi said. “And all of this was done while staying within the spending limits Congress set. It is virtually impossible to write legislation that makes everyone happy, but I believe this bill does a good job at threading the needle.”
Along with continuing to prevent an Endangered Species Act listing for the Greater Sage Grouse, Enzi also noted that the spending bill fosters economic development and job security and funds the fight against the opioid crisis.
A partial list of what Enzi said were wins for Wyoming include:
21st Century Community Learning Centers – The bill provides a $25 million increase to 21st Century Community Learning Centers (afterschool programming).
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – The bill provides $3.39 billion to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Payments In Lieu of Taxes – The bill provides $465 million for the “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) program, which compensates counties for local tax revenue lost to federal land ownership.
Greater Sage Grouse – Continues a one-year delay on any further Endangered Species Act status reviews, listing determinations and rulemakings for Greater Sage-Grouse.
Reduces EPA funding – Provides $81.4 million less funds to the EPA than they received last year.
No funding for United Nations climate funds – The bill provides no funding for the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund or Climate Change Panel.
ICBMs – The bill contains language that prevents reductions in strategic delivery vehicles and launchers, including the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) overseen by F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, from previously established levels.
Rural health – Additional funding is included for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants ($2 million increase) and Telehealth programs ($1.5 million increase). Wyoming receives funding through the “Flex” grant to develop critical access hospital networks and foster collaborative linkages between Wyoming’s primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals.
Wildland firefighting and prevention – The bill fully funds the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs.
Oil and gas inspection and grazing fees – The bill rejects the previous administration’s proposal to increase oil and gas inspection fees and raise fees on ranchers for grazing.
Impact Aid Program – The bill provides a $23 million increase to the Impact Aid Program. The Impact Aid Program fulfills the federal obligation to assist school districts that experience a loss in their local property tax base because the district includes federal or Indian lands.