10.31.19

Daines Secures, Advances Major Montana Priorities Out of U.S. Senate

Votes to Advance Four Appropriations Bills, Montana Wins Out of The U.S. Senate

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today voted to advance four appropriations bills out of the U.S. Senate supporting major Montana priorities including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), law enforcement and meth prevention, wildfire prevention, Montana agriculture, addressing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis, superfund cleanup and more.

“This is about securing funding for critical priorities that are important to our Montana way of life,” Daines said. “I am honored to bring the issues that Montanans care about most to the center of the appropriations negotiations.”

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Daines worked to secure the Montana priorities in the bills. Next steps will be conferencing the bills with the U.S. House of Representatives.

Breakdown of wins per bill:  

Commerce, Science, Justice Appropriations Bill:

Quote: “This bill helps support initiatives to combat Montana’s meth epidemic and mitigate the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis in Indian Country,” Daines said.

  • Meth –$13 million for COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Task Forces to help local efforts and law enforcement to combat the meth epidemic. Daines successfully introduced a bipartisan amendment with Senator Tester during the appropriations process to increase the funding to $13 million – which is a $5 million increase from last year.
  • MMIW – Secures improvements and funding towards data sharing, training, and technical assistance with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service to better address and prevent violent crime in Indian Country. Secures that the Crime Victim Fund dedicates 5% of is funds for tribal victims.
  • Justice –$28 million for Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) grants. $12 million will be included for CASA grants. Drug courts will receive $80 million, an increase of $3 million.
  • Tech –$10M for Quantum Science in National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

 

Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill:

Quote: “This bill helps protect and preserve our Montana outdoor heritage,” Daines said. “This funding will also help protect Montanans public health and safety by supporting wildfire prevention programs and superfund cleanup.”

  • LWCF 465 million for LWCF (an increase of $30 million from last year)
  • Parks –  $127 million will be directed for the National Park Service Deferred Maintenance
  • Superfund$1.167 billion with language stating any remaining funds from the W.R. Grace Settlement remain expandable to Libby and encourages the EPA to work with congress to effectively protect communities from further exposure to asbestos.
  • Indian Affairs $45.6 million for Indian Land and Water Claims Settlements, including the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement. Secures $6.5 million in funding to combat the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis.
  • Forest Service/Wildfire - Secures directive for Forest Service to examine Recommended Wilderness Areas for existing uses and more uniformly manage them across regions. Secures strong funding for forest health and wildfire programs.  

 

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill:

Quote: “This bill helps support important infrastructure priorities critical to our economy and returns Amtrak ticket agents to Havre and Shelby,” Daines said. “This bill also delays the ELD mandate another year which is critical for Montana ag.”

 

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) - Additional year delay in the ELD mandate
  • Contract Towers - Fully funds contract towers in Bozeman, Kalispell, Missoula
  • Amtrak - Returns Amtrak ticket agents to Havre and Shelby
  • Air Travel –$10 million for the Small Community Air Service Development Grant Program 

 

Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

Quote: “This bill helps support Montana farmers and ranchers,” Daines said. “It also addresses very important issues to our rural communities, including expanding rural broadband access.”

  • MSU Research –$259 million in Hatch Act funds to support agricultural research at land grant institutions like Montana State University to help utilize and preserve our natural resources, maintain U.S. competitiveness in the global economy, and protect America’s food supply.
  • Extension Services –$315 million in Smith-Lever funds to assist producers in the application of knowledge gained by research via extension services. These funds help improve best practices and directly benefit farmers and ranchers on the ground.
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative –$425 million for AFRI, which funds critical research and extension grants that help create a sustainable agriculture economy in Montana and across the United States.
  • U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative –$5.5 million in funding for essential research into fusarium head blight (scab) that will help farmers fight the disease that is a serious problem for states like Montana.
  • Brucellosis – Urges USDA to make competitive grants available to improve management tools for research into zoonotic livestock diseases like brucellosis.
  • Pulse Crops –$1 million to expand research into the nutritional benefits of pulse crops via the Pulse Health Initiative. The bill also recommends that USDA support schools in efforts to source and provide pulses in their school lunch programs.
  • Sugar Beets –$1 million in increased funding for plant disease research to improve the quality of sugar beet production.
  • Wheat Grading - The U.S. is Canada’s largest wheat export market and Canadian producers compete equally with their U.S. counterparts when exporting into the U.S. As the Canada Grains Act and Varietal Registration System requires imported wheat to be graded at the lowest standard established, the result is that imported U.S. wheat is treated less favorably when compared to Canadian product. This distinction puts U.S. wheat at a significant disadvantage when it enters the Canadian market. This bill directs Secretary Perdue to work with the Department of Commerce and USTR to prioritize this issue in negotiations with the Canadians.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease –$9 million in funding for cervid health, of which $5 million will go to state departments of wildlife and agriculture to develop and implement CWD surveillance, testing, management, and response activities.
  • Industrial Hemp –$16.5 million for USDA to implement the hemp provisions in the Farm Bill and directs USDA to move promptly in advancing relevant regulations as well as coordinating with other impacted federal agencies to support the commercial production and interstate commerce of industrial hemp.
  • Livestock Indemnity Payments – Urges USDA to prioritize LIP updates in the Farm Bill and ensure assistance is provided to ranchers impacted by severe weather as quickly as possible.
  • Rural Broadband –$30 million for the rural broadband grant and loan program and included language directing the Rural Utilities Service to eliminate duplicative or over building of broadband technology.

 

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Votes to Advance Four Appropriations Bills, Montana Wins Out of The U.S. Senate