DelBene Secures Wins in Omnibus Funding Bill
Washington, D.C., March 22, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) secured legislative wins in a comprehensive funding bill – known as an omnibus – including increasing access to low-income housing, boosting funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and protecting consumers’ electronic privacy.
Three of DelBene’s bills were included in the omnibus – a version of the Access to Affordable Housing Act (H.R. 4185), a revised version of the CLOUD Act (H.R. 4943) and H.R. 4683 to ensure seniors have access to medical breakthroughs.
“Making sure every American has a safe and affordable place to call home is a moral imperative that we must address,” DelBene said. “I am so pleased that my legislation to help lift families out of poverty and increase access to affordable housing was included in the omnibus because we in Washington state have seen firsthand that housing options are not keeping pace with demand and my legislation would help ensure more families can find stable housing. An expanded Low Income Housing Tax Credit is a great step toward addressing the housing crisis in our region and in communities across the country.”
“Updating our laws to reflect the way the world works in the 21st century has been one of my top priorities in Congress. I’ve supported a number of different proposals to reform our electronic privacy laws and will continue to push for those, including the CLOUD Act,” DelBene said. “This bill guarantees that users of technology have confidence that their privacy rights will be protected by due process while simultaneously ensuring law enforcement agencies have necessary access to information through a clear, legal framework to keep us safe.”
Additionally, the omnibus included $37.1 billion for NIH, which is a $3 billion increase. DelBene led a letter to the House Appropriations Committee calling for at least a $2 billion increase. DelBene had bipartisan support from 129 members of Congress on that letter. And it includes a policy change for new medical technologies that DelBene led with her colleague Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA). Their bill extends the pass-through payment add-on for new innovative biotechnologies from three years to five years. This reform is critical for seniors to maintain access to the latest breakthrough technologies through Medicare.
The omnibus also includes $4 billion to help address the opioid epidemic, $600 million for rural broadband, a $1 billion increase for TIGER infrastructure grants and ends “fire borrowing” for the U.S. Forest Service.
“Too often, Congress has kicked the can down the road, setting up future crises that leave American families and businesses in limbo. Since the start of the fiscal year, we’ve passed three continuing resolutions after being forced to the brink of government shutdowns. As a former businesswoman, I know that no business would budget just two or three months at a time. Congress needs to stop this inefficient cycle, and work to minimize uncertainty for the people we were sent here to serve,” DelBene said. “While I’m glad Congress has managed to craft bipartisan appropriations bills that make strategic investments in affordable housing, education, research, clean energy, job training and infrastructure, this comes six months into the fiscal year. Short-term, crisis-driven legislating is the most expensive and least efficient way to budget, and it keeps us from working on other priorities we need to address for our nation’s future. This was a compromise and I’m disappointed the DREAM Act, the Remote Transaction Parity Act and healthcare market stabilization, all of which are bipartisan, were not included. And there is no reason Congress shouldn’t act on these this year.”
The omnibus would fund government programs through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, and is necessary to prevent another government shutdown. The bill passed the House and now heads to the Senate.