Titus Votes for Omnibus Appropriations Bill To Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Dec 18, 2015
Press Release

December 18, 2015

Washington D.C. - Today Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's First District joined her U.S. House colleagues to vote on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which will fund government through FY 2016. The bill passed the House by a vote of of 316 to 113. The compromise legislation will bolster the wind and solar industries, add more than $1 billion to education programs and block Republican attempts to limit women’s access to health care services.
“With this bill, the nation will avert another Republican-led government shutdown and make vital investments in the First District's working families,” Rep. Titus said. “The bill will ensure the growth of the clean energy sector with vital tax-credit extensions for the wind and solar industries and research investments in energy efficiency programs. The law invests in education at all levels, boosting funding for programs that will provide hundreds of millions to help low-income and disabled students and increase federal medical research. The bill, while not perfect, should also be noted for what it doesn’t do. Democrats blocked GOP attempts in the law to defund women’s health centers and add barriers for workers who want to organize.”
The bill’s investments in priorities include the following:

·         Renewable Energy:  Provides a major boost to renewable energy by extending the wind Production Tax Credit for five years (through 2019), and extending the solar Investment Tax Credit for five years (through 2021), while phasing both credits down somewhat over time.  Extending the solar tax credit is estimated to create 61,000 jobs in 2017 alone.  It is also estimated that the wind industry will grow to over 100,000 jobs over four years with the renewed wind tax credit.

·         Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy R&D:  Provides an 8 percent increase over 2015 for R&D activities in the pursuit of new clean energy and energy efficiency technologies.

·         Overall Education: The bill restores the $2.5 billion cut in education that the GOP had proposed and also makes critical additional investments of $1.4 billion above 2015, in such areas as Title I that serves 24 million at-risk students.

·         Early Learning:  Investing in Head Start produces results – and this bill invests nearly $400 million more than the House GOP bill and nearly $600 million more than 2015 in this vital initiative.  The bill also provides $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, assisting 18 states across the country. 

·         Medical Research:  Medical research at NIH has been underfunded for the last several years.  This bill provides $900 million more than the House GOP bill and $2 billion more than 2015 for this life-saving research.

·         Infrastructure:  The popular TIGER grants are being used across the country to repair infrastructure and contribute to economic growth.  The House GOP bill had slashed TIGER grants by 80 percent, killing jobs, but this bill restores the funding to the 2015 level of $500 million.

·         Law Enforcement: The bill provides $187 million for COPS hiring grants, $7 million above the 2015 level and $187 million above the House GOP bill, which had eliminated the hiring grants.  The bill also provides $80 million for the Community Policing Initiative, including $22.5 million for body-worn cameras and $15 million for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grants, an increase over the House bill.    
The measure also does not include numerous GOP ideological riders that would have had damaging impacts on America’s women, consumers, workers, and children.  The damaging GOP “poison pill” riders that were removed from the final bill include:
·         GOP riders that would have limited women’s access to the full range of comprehensive health care services, including by defunding Planned Parenthood.

·         GOP riders that would have gutted the Dodd-Frank provisions that hold big Wall Street banks accountable.

·         GOP riders that would have undermined the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, jeopardizing the health of our children and working families.

·         GOP riders that would have blocked moving forward on addressing climate change and reducing damaging carbon emissions.

·         GOP riders that would have blocked protections that allow workers to form unions and help them save for retirement.
Finally, the Omnibus includes several other important provisions:

·         Reauthorizes the key James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, making the Health Program permanent and reauthorizing the Victims Compensation Fund for five years.

·         Delays the so-called “Cadillac” tax, a tax on employer-provided health plans worth over a certain threshold, for two years – from 2018 to 2020.

·         Includes the provisions of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which addresses issues raised by the terrorist attacks in Paris with reforms to the program.

·         Reauthorizes the Land and Conservation Fund, which is one of our country’s most successful outdoor recreation and conservation programs and which Republicans allowed to expire on September 30.