12.19.19

Senate-Passed Government Funding Bill Includes Colorado Victories, Gardner Priorities

One of two packages to fund the government, includes Gardner efforts to increase funding for the LWCF, repeal costly health care taxes, and support renewable energy projects

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) successfully included a number of Colorado priorities in H.R. 1865, a domestic spending package of appropriations bills, which was approved by the Senate today. This legislation is the first of two funding bills considered by the Senate today to fund the government, and H.R. 1865 now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

“I’m proud that this funding package ties together many of the efforts that I’ve championed for Colorado this year,” said Senator Gardner. “These efforts will lower health care costs in Colorado, provide vital resources for our military service members, and help future generations enjoy Colorado’s public lands by increasing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This bill will have a direct impact on Colorado communities by fully funding critical services for counties with large amounts of federal land and supporting innovative energy research projects in Colorado.” 

H.R. 1865 includes eight appropriations bills: Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration; Energy and Water Development; Interior, Environment; Legislative Branch; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Also included in H.R. 1865 was the repeal of the costly Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and Medical Device Tax, which Gardner has long advocated for in order to lower Coloradans’ health care costs and foster innovation.

Colorado priorities Gardner backed in H.R. 1865 include:

Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies:

  • $71 million for a Company Operations Facility at Fort Carson
  • $60 million for a Consolidated Space Operations Facility at Schriever Air Force Base

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies:

  • Maintains critical funds for resilient dryland farming research
  • Provides funding for Department of Agriculture bureaus that do important work in Colorado, including Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development
  • Ensures disaster relief funds that are set to expire at the end of the calendar year remain available to assist agricultural producers who have been affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019
  • Fully funds the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network at $10 million. Senator Gardner was a cosponsor of the original legislation to reauthorize this program, and secured a $3 million increase in the program’s funding

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies:

  • $495 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), an increase of $60 million over funding from last year
  • Provides $2.25 billion in budget cap adjustment funding to mitigate need for fire borrowing
  • Fully funds Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) at $500 million
  • $1.4 billion for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
    • Continues to fund activities to reorganize the BLM’s headquarters
  • $3.4 billion for the National Park Service

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies:

  • $41.68 billion for the National Institutes of Health

Energy and Water Development:

  • $1.68 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation
  • Includes language that continues to advocate for the construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit
  • Directs funding as needed for the Bureau of Reclamation to assist Colorado River states in implementing the Drought Contingency Plans
  • Significant funding for grid modernization, storage, and cyber research and development
  • Record funding levels for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) at $425 million. There are currently nearly 50 ongoing projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado School of Mines, and other research entities in Colorado benefiting from ARPA-E funding
  • Protects funding for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory through the Office of Science and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • $195 million for Quantum Information Science
  • $71 million for AI and machine learning activities 

Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies:

  • Includes $1 billion for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants
  • Includes language previously supported by Gardner aimed at ensuring continued service on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route
  • Includes full funding for Essential Air Service (EAS) program

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs:

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.