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Beyer Statement On Omnibus Bill

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Washington, May 3, 2017 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer made the following statement today on the omnibus bill, which is expected to be signed into law this week:

“This omnibus funding bill represents the product of a bipartisan agreement, and as such required compromise from both sides. It does not contain everything I’d like, but the most important thing is that we reached a deal that will keep the government open without the worst budget cuts and most irresponsible policy riders sought by House Republicans and the White House.

I’m particularly pleased that the omnibus protects environmental agencies and scientific research about which I have been vocal during the budget process:

·         The budget for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), headquartered in Arlington, which I asked appropriators to protect as the White House sought to eliminate it, saw a modest budget increase.

·         The Environmental Protection Agency is funded at nearly the same level that it was last year, funding which prevents any staff cuts and protects the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program. 

·         Scientific research funding was also increased at NASA and the National Science Foundation, both of which have a presence in Northern Virginia.

The funding bill protects the $150 million federal contribution to WMATA. I sent a letter to House appropriators in March asking them to continue this crucial funding.

The National Institutes of Health, which President Trump had sought to cut by $2 billion, saw a significant funding increase, and the budget agreement also contains $600 million which Democrats sought to fight the opioid epidemic. We finally obtained permanent health benefits for coal miners, which the White House admitted to having used as a bargaining chip.

The bill also restores year-round access to Pell Grant funding for students.

The agreement is also notable for what it does not contain:

·         It does not block Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood clinics.

·         It does not attempt to undermine cost-sharing reduction payments that help control costs for health insurance on the individual market.

·         It has been stripped of a large number of harmful policy riders, including attempts to weaken the Endangered Species Act and Dodd-Frank financial reform.

·         It contains no funding at all for President Trump’s misguided border wall.

Given that this bill preserves funding for key programs while also protecting the livelihoods of the federal workers and contractors who represent a key element of Northern Virginia’s economy, I will vote “yes” on the omnibus funding bill.”