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House approves spending bills that include benefits for Nevada

WASHINGTON — House leaders are rushing to pass spending legislation before a weeklong break, muscling through an emergency border bill and a package funding projects benefiting Nevada and its residents.

Lawmakers said Wednesday that the package of five spending bills passed by the House to fund various federal departments includes money for veterans, housing, infrastructure, housing and protections for wild horses and burros that populate the Southwest.

The whirlwind of activity began Tuesday when House Democrats overcame division and passed a $4.5 billion supplemental border spending bill to address the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The situation unfolding at the Southern border is, without question, a humanitarian crisis,” said Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev.

He said facilities where asylum-seeking immigrants and children are housed “lack basic necessities including toothbrushes, blankets or soap.”

On Wednesday, the House also passed a $383 billion package, 227-194, to fund the various federal departments in fiscal year 2020, which begins Oct. 1.

Nevada’s congressional delegation voted along party lines, with Democratic Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Horsford voting for the bill and Rep. Mark Amodei, the state’s lone Republican and only member on the House Appropriations Committee, voted against it.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where any changes must be reconciled by the bicameral conference committee.

Titus, a transportation subcommittee chairwoman, said she secured funding to improve infrastructure “in and around Las Vegas.”

“We have also made important investments to aid the most vulnerable in our community and provide affordable housing,” Titus said.

In addition, Titus said the bill would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from conducting “cruel” experiments on dogs. The bill also adds protections against wild horse slaughter.

Lee touted the legislation and its “increased funding for veteran suicide prevention, and full funding for the Summer Food Service Program to help young students in under-served communities.”

There are also increases in funding for opioid abuse treatment and prevention for veterans, and an increase in money for Violence Against Women Act programs, Lee said.

Other measures in the bill include:

— Language aimed at protecting Nevada’s legal commercial cannabis industry from federal interference.

— Continuation of the Bureau of Land Management’s Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act Program.

— An increase in funding for Community Development Block Grants, which has helped fund numerous programs in Clark County that include Lutheran Social Service Resource Center and the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center.

ContactGaryMartin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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