Jan 15 2014
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) praised members of the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Omnibus Bill, a comprehensive government spending bill for Fiscal Year 2014.
In total, it provides $1.012 trillion in discretionary funding – the same level delineated in the Ryan-Murray agreement.
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers helped author key provisions in the bill, including several designed to protect and revive coal mining communities. The bipartisan bill passed Wednesday with a vote of 359 - 67.
"We made responsible choices to realign the nation’s funding priorities, targeting precious tax dollars to where they are needed the most," said Rogers. "Throughout the bill, we have maintained pro-life policies, and protected Second Amendment rights. We’ve made sure that this bill provides no new funding for ObamaCare, and have even cut existing ObamaCare funds to the tune of over one billion dollars. It also includes several provisions to protect and revive our coal mining communities."
The Omnibus ends government spending under a Continuing Resolution, which imposed out-dated funding levels across federal agencies. Instead, it contains all 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014. This allows every program to be weighed individually and prioritized, with funding targeted to the most important and effective programs while lower-priority programs are reduced.
Bill Highlights for Kentucky--
Economic and Rural Development
The FY14 spending bill supports a number of economic development programs that will have a meaningful impact in Southern and Eastern Kentucky and which dovetail with the mission of SOAR: Shaping Our Appalachian Region. Examples include:
- Economic Development Administration: $209.5 million for Economic Development Assistance Programs, including $3 million to enhance regional business development in areas negatively impacted by the downturn in the coal industry.
- Appalachian Regional Commission: $80 million to increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia, including $10 million for broadband deployment in distressed Central Appalachian counties.
- UDSA Rural Development: $2.4 billion to assist rural communities in creating affordable housing options and critical infrastructure investments such as rural broadband, utility and power systems.
- Community Development Financial Institutions: $226 million to promote economic revitalization in low-income communities.
- HubZone: $2.245 million to help small businesses in rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
- Head Start: $8.6 billion to continue promoting early education, the bedrock of future economic opportunity for the region.
- Job Training: $10.4 billion for job training initiatives to help working individuals recover from layoffs, career changes and dealing with a tough economic climate.
- Community Services Block Grants and Community Economic Development Grants: $759 million in grants to fight poverty and promote business opportunities in areas like southern and eastern Kentucky.
Pro-Coal Energy Policy
The omnibus legislation contains a number of provisions to ensure that coal continues to be an important part of our country’s energy portfolio, and that the international market for coal remains strong. Examples include:
- Federal research: $562 million for the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy program, which supports vital research on technologies that utilize our region’s coal resources.
- Cuts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): reins in this out-of-control regulatory agency with $143 million in budget cuts. Overall, EPA funding has been reduced by $2.1 billion – or 20.4% – since Republicans gained control of the House in 2010.
- Mining Permits: prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from changing the definition of “fill,” to protect hundreds of thousands of mining jobs and more than a million other jobs in related industries, and requires the Corps to report to Congress on the number of mining permits being issued.
- Keeping foreign coal markets open: the bill prohibits a component of President Obama’s damaging Climate Change Policy that would stop the United States from investing in coal-fired power plants in developing countries.
- Office of Surface Mining: provides $150 million for the Office of Surface Mining, including $69 million in state grants to allow states to implement their programs without increasing fees on the mining industry.
The omnibus contains funding and numerous provisions to promote a holistic anti-drug strategy at the federal level. Examples include:
- Drug Courts: $119.5 million in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help non-violent offenders struggling with addiction, including $4 million for Veterans Treatment Courts to support our men and women in uniform.
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: $7 million for DOJ to provide grants to states to implement and enhance PDMPs.
- Meth Cleanup: $10 million to support state and local law enforcement efforts to clean up methamphetamine labs.
- Federal Investigations: $360.9 million for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s diversion control account, which supports federal investigation of prescription drug misuse. In addition, U.S. Attorneys are encouraged to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of pain clinics that serve as fronts for the illegal distribution of addictive painkillers.
- National Guard Counter-drug activities: $1.05 billion for the National Guard to conduct counter-drug activities, such as marijuana eradication in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
- HIDTA: $238.5 million to support regional anti-drug initiatives, such as the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
- Assistance to states: $1.25 million for assistance to states in implementing drug laws.
- Substance Abuse and Prevention Block Grants: $1.74 billion for states to plan, carry out and evaluate activities to prevent and treat substance abuse.