The House accomplished a lot last week, working hard to advance several important measures before breaking for the August district work period. Below are a few bills that may be of interest to you:
H.R. 5515 – the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019
Last week, House and Senate conferees announced the details of the conference report for the NDAA. The final bill, which successfully passed out of the House by a recorded vote of 359-94, will fund our national security needs and support our brave men and women in uniform by increasing funding for: military training and readiness programs, equipment, and quality-of-life programs for our troops and their families. This legislation is consistent with Congress’s commitment to delivering for our military by giving our troops the largest pay raise in nearly nine years. I thank my colleagues in the House and all of the conferees for their hard work on this important piece of legislation and urge my colleagues in the Senate to take swift action and send this bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
S. 1182 – the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018
As you may remember, several communities across our country were severely devastated by last year’s hurricane season. Above all, last year’s storm season should serve as a grave reminder of the importance of flood insurance and other protections. To ensure communities have the tools they need to rebuild and get back on their feet after disaster strikes, this legislation keeps the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) authorized through the upcoming hurricane season. Please know that I will continue to do everything possible to ensure these protections are available to the people who need them most.
H.R. 2353 – the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act
This legislation reauthorizes and modernizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in order to strengthen and improve career and technical education and give Americans the skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs. To create a more prosperous society, it’s imperative that we focus on instilling an educational system that encourages people to reach their full potential. In today’s job market, it’s simply unacceptable for Americans seeking employment to be lacking the training to find the right opportunity. This bill modernizes career and technical training efforts to help more people acquire the skills they need to find a good-paying job. I’m pleased to have supported this bill and look forward to the President signing it into law.
It’s always nice to see familiar faces while I’m in Washington. Below are some of the Nevadans I recently met with:
Senator Heller’s Summer Intern Class
The McDonald Family from Reno
Northern Nevada’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Officers
Wild Horse Update
As you know, the mismanagement of wild horses and burros in the West has led to tremendous over population levels which only continue to grow when herds double in size every two years. In Nevada, we have more wild horses than all other Western states combined. In fact, former BLM Director Neil Kornze has said the agency estimates $1 billion will be needed to care for wild horses and burros in holding facilities over their lifetime.
Below are some of the latest facts surrounding this issue:
- Currently, there are 44,730 horses in holding facilities;
- The BLM spent $48.6 million last year in off-range holding costs alone, this is 58% of the total Wild Horse and Burro Program budget;
- Since 2012, the program has been appropriated at $462 million, with $278 million of this funding going toward holding facility costs;
- Nationwide, there are currently 81,951 wild horses and burros on the range, with the maximum Appropriate Management Level (AML) being 26,690;
- In Nevada, there are 44,017 wild horses and burros on the range, with the maximum AML being 12,811.
Additionally, the Carson district office is the BLM's headquarters for the wild horse adoption program in Western Nevada. While a number of horses have been adopted from this herd, as you can see from this particular instance, adoption alone is unable to control the herd’s rapid and continued increase in population.
Overall, our mission is protecting the multiple use of our range land. We cannot ignore this species’ impact on the resources in the Pine Nut region any more than the impact of other species on the range land. When these horses are rounded up, some will be considered suitable for adoption, while others will be better suited for long-term holding facilities. It's important to remember that NO horses will be slaughtered as a result of this roundup process.
The status quo in terms of proper management of our nation’s wild horse population is obviously not working. Nevada cannot continue to pay the price because of the Government’s inability to properly manage this issue. For these reasons, I was pleased to see the BLM take action to address the over population levels by attempting to properly manage a situation that is unsustainable and that it is legally authorized to manage, especially when the agency has gone about its management plan in a transparent and public manner, working with local advocacy groups in the region and keeping relevant stakeholders informed along the way.
Additionally, I have consistently requested the Nevada BLM State Office inform me each time their district offices conduct a site assessment or allotment tour. My staff and I have already accompanied the BLM on several of these tours to conduct vigorous oversight. I will continue to work closely with the BLM, both nationally and regionally, and through the House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations, on which I serve, to hold the BLM accountable and ensure these lands are protected for Nevadans.
House Natural Resources Hearing
Earlier this month, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on HR 5347, the Lyon County Economic Development and Environmental Remediation Act, legislation that I introduced this month that will transfer approximately 2,000 acres of federal lands managed by the BLM and located in Lyon County into private control. The land to be transferred has endured extensive historical copper mining and mineral processing, which includes the release of hazardous substances and groundwater contamination. The land has the potential to be placed on the Superfund National Priority List (NPL) and is subject to cleanup orders from the State of Nevada Department of Environmental Protection. As opposed to having to jump through hoops of government regulation to clean up this hazardous area, transferring these lands into private control will expedite the environmental cleanup process.
Click here to learn more and view the full hearing.
Interior Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 2019
My colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee recently marked up the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Interior Appropriations Bill. This legislation promotes the responsible use of our natural resources by providing critical funding to combat devastating wildfires, improve forest health, and promote clean air and water. This bill also supports our Native communities and preserves funding for important arts and humanities programs.
While voting on amendments to be included in the final appropriations bill, I chose to vote against an amendment sponsored by Rep. Grothman of Wisconsin that would have reduced funding for both the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities by 15 percent. As an arts and humanities enthusiast, I have always supported the work of the Nevada Arts Council, Nevada Humanities, and other programs across our country that bring cultural and historical perspectives to our constituents through projects, publications, and exhibitions. I will continue to do everything to recognize and support the great work these individuals do on behalf of our communities nationwide.
Click here to learn more about this bill.
Productivity in the House
Cutting your taxes isn’t the only thing House Republicans have done this Congress. We’ve continued working hard on the issues that matter to you and your family, like reducing unemployment, funding the military, and taking steps to keep our communities safer.
As of July 26, 2018:
- The House has passed 1,172 bills and resolutions this Congress, while the Senate has passed 736 bills and resolutions.
As is often the unfortunate case, the Senate’s inactivity and gridlock has created a backlog, preventing legislation that passed by a bipartisan majority in the House from being considered in a timely manner. To date, there are more than 600 House-passed bills stuck in Senate-limbo. While the Senate has passed a few of the bills we’ve sent over this year, the majority haven’t seen any action. While it’s incredibly frustrating that the bulk of our agenda has been stalled because of the Senate’s inaction, the House will continue working hard to do its part, stay on schedule, and advance the people’s priorities.
Click here to reach out to me through my website and let me know which priorities are most important to you.
Over the past several months, my colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee have set an example for all of Congress by passing all 12 appropriations bills out of Committee. These bills provide funding to the critical programs and agencies Americans rely on. Of these 12 bills, the House has successfully sent six of them to the Senate for consideration. While the remaining six bills have yet to pass the House Floor, Speaker Ryan has said the House will continue working to pass as many bills as possible. This work is important as these bills serve as a foundation for negotiating a larger appropriations measure later this year.
It’s also important to note that for the first time in over 10 years, the House and Senate are conferencing on appropriations bills that fund the nation’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch programs. Sending legislation to a conference committee means both chambers of Congress have passed these bills and are now working out the legislative differences. If we are not successful in passing all 12 appropriations bills and going to conference with the Senate before the end of the Fiscal Year – September 30, 2018 – we will be forced to pass another Continuing Resolution to fund the government.
Items that Must Be Reauthorized Before the End of the Fiscal Year
Funding the Government
Again, if Congress is unsuccessful in passing all 12 appropriations bill to fund our federal agencies and programs by the end of the Fiscal Year, then we will be forced to vote on another short term spending measure to avert a government shutdown.
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
This critical legislation provides funding for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases not prosecuted.
Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Funding for the FAA ensures the continued stability of our nation’s aviation sector by investing in our nation’s airports, improving aviation safety, enhancing passenger’s experience, encouraging innovation, and cutting through burdensome regulations to pave the way for innovative technologies.
This legislation must be renewed every five years to ensure America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters have the tools, resources, and certainty they need to remain competitive in the 21st century.
August District Work Period Preview
As the House adjourns for the August district work period, I'm eager to get to work in Nevada, with plans to visit all 11 counties over the next four weeks. While I’m home, I'll be meeting with constituents and local businesses, conducting facility tours, and visiting with federal agencies.
District work periods are an opportunity for me to hear directly from the Nevadans I serve and answer questions about the work I’m doing in Washington. This extended work period allows me to check a number of items off my to-do list such as, meeting with local BLM district offices to conduct oversight on relevant issues, receive updates, and discuss meaningful solutions to the challenges facing the West. I’ll also meet with various newspaper editorial boards, chambers of commerce, and county commissions. I remain committed to being as accessible and transparent as possible to Nevadans, because in order for us to make progress on the issues that affect us all, we must work closely together.
As always, thank you for subscribing to the Amodei Report. I look forward to keeping you updated on the issues you care about most. For additional information, please visit my website at amodei.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-6155, Reno office: (775) 686-5760 or Elko office: (775) 777-7705. To receive updates on what I am doing in Washington and in Nevada’s 2nd District follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.