December 19, 2019
End-of-year legislation benefits rural communities, extend short line rail credit, support veterans
Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate advanced two significant measures to the President’s desk to be signed into law. U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) voted in favor of both bills, H.R. 1865 and H.R. 1158, which will fully fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
“Partisan gridlock in Washington has prevented Congress from advancing singular, regular appropriations bills, but passing a long-term funding measure instead of another short-term stopgap is a step in the right direction,” Crapo said. “The measures we passed in the Senate today will fund the government through the end of the fiscal year and contain a number of provisions that will benefit Idahoans. Our economy is booming, and Congress must continue working diligently with the Administration to support vital domestic and national security priorities.”
The appropriations packages contained several measures championed and shepherded through Congress by Crapo, including:
- Secure Rural Schools (SRS): A two-year extension of SRS funding. Senator Crapo has worked since 2000 to give SRS a more permanent role in assisting rural counties fund critical services like schools, road improvements and law enforcement.
- Short Line Rail Investment: An extension of the Section 45G tax credit for short line railroad track maintenance expenditures through 2022. The credit encourages and supports investments in short line railroads, which contribute to more jobs and economic growth.
- Nuclear Energy: Contains funding for advanced nuclear reactor projects (a priority in Crapo-backed S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act), the Nuclear Reactor Innovation Center created under Crapo’s Nuclear Energy and Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) and the Versatile Advanced Test Reactor, also authorized under NEICA.
- Support for Nation’s Veterans: Supports implementation of the VA MISSION Act and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act–both of which Crapo has been a long-time co-sponsor and supporter.
As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Crapo secured the following provisions in the appropriations bills:
- Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization: The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was passed in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It created the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, which stabilizes the market for terrorism risk insurance. Chairman Crapo previously advanced a seven-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program out of Committee, which was included in today’s spending bill. This legislation makes coverage for terrorism risk insurance more available and affordable to the businesses that need it, and also preserves important taxpayer reforms.
- Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: The Export-Import Bank provides export financing so that United States companies can compete and succeed in international markets, particularly against foreign governments like China. The Bank has supported nearly $100 million worth of Idaho exports over the last five years. Senator Crapo helped to secure a seven-year reauthorization of the Bank that includes a new program on China and Transformational Exports, with a goal of directly neutralizing export subsidies for competing goods and services financed by China’s export credit agencies. The bill will also increase support for and participation by U.S. small businesses.
- National Flood Insurance Program: The National Flood Insurance Program was designed to expand homeowners’ access to flood insurance in exchange for local communities reducing their exposure to flood risk. Senator Crapo secured a provision to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2020.
Additional measures and year-end Senate action pushed by the Administration and supported by Crapo include:
- Border Wall/Security: Provides FY2020 funding for increased border security without limits on the President’s authority to transfer funds for a border wall.
- Election Security: Authorizes $425 million for election security grants for states to bolster local stakeholders’ and experts’ on-the-ground work to protect our electoral system.
- Support for Troops: Supports a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops.
- Confirmation of a Record Number of Constitutional Judges: Last week, the Senate confirmed President Trump’s 50th circuit judge. In the last three years, the Senate has confirmed 2 Supreme Court Justices, 50 circuit judges and 133 district judges.
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