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Nevada to get $167M in year-end funding bill

The U.S. Senate approved a $1.7 trillion end-of-year spending package Thursday that finances federal agencies through September and provides another significant round of military and economic aid to Ukraine.

The package includes $858 billion in defense funding and about $772.5 billion for domestic programs. In addition to allocating support for war efforts in Ukraine, the package provides money for veterans’ medical care, communities recovering from natural disasters, social services such as child care, medical research, housing and education.

The bill passed in a 68-to-29 vote and now goes to the House for a vote.

Senators felt the pressure to vote on the 4,155-page package quickly to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to avoid a major winter storm sweeping across the Midwest and headed to the East Coast.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY., on the Senate floor Thursday called it “one of the most significant appropriation packages” Congress has passed in a long time. Provisions in the package help families, students and pregnant workers, he said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense, said on the Senate floor that the package has “some good stuff in it” and encouraged Republicans to vote for it. Eighteen Republican senators joined with Democrats in voting for the bill.

Still the package received criticism from multiple sides: Republicans who were against “frivolous spending” and “partisan initiatives,” as well as liberals upset with the 10 percent increase in the military budget.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., called the package another example of “years-long irresponsibility” in a statement and suggested it could get stopped at the House.

“And get ready, because you have two more weeks of misery with Democrat control in the House and the Senate until January 2, 2023,” Amodei said in the statement. “When the Omnibus vote comes to the House, however, leave no room for concern, because Republicans on this side of the Chamber will be unified with an overwhelming ‘no’ vote.”

The House won’t be able to take up the bill until Friday morning, and while it is expected to pass, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the chamber will also approve a stopgap spending resolution to ensure government services continue without interruption before the bill is signed into law.

How the package will help Nevada

More than $167 million in community project funding from the omnibus package will support 85 programs in Nevada, said Democratic Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, who submitted the project funding requests in the summer of 2022.

The community project funds will help rebuild a fire station in Storey County, fund new public safety training programs in Southern Nevada, build a food distribution warehouse for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and update energy efficient infrastructure in Clark County, according to a statement from Rosen’s office.

It also expands mental and physical health outreach programs in Nevada, upgrades rural water infrastructure and expands nurse training programs at different Nevada colleges.

“The community project funding I secured this year for Nevada will help support families, save lives, expand economic opportunity, and foster growth across the Silver State,” said Cortez Masto in a statement. “I’ll keep working to make sure these dollars get out into our communities as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“The funding I secured for these projects will support local law enforcement, deliver clean drinking water, expand mental health services, improve our transportation infrastructure, and more,” Rosen said in a statement. “I will always fight to ensure Nevada receives our fair share of federal dollars.”

Dedication to tourism

The package includes legislation pushed by Rosen — chair of the Senate subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion — that aims to strengthen U.S. travel. It will create a position in the Department of Commerce for a new assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism to focus on coordinating tourism strategy across the country and to look at how different issues such as infrastructure, health care and workforces impact tourism.

“We’re going to have someone who is going to take a lot of things into consideration and see what we need to do today and what we need to do to prepare for tomorrow,” Rosen said in an interview.

The legislation also would authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to collect data on domestic travel and tourism, mandate the development of a national travel and tourism strategy every 10 years and report on the effects of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry, according to a statement from Rosen’s office.

Another $1.6 billion is allocated for Customs and Border Protection, including funding for 300 additional border patrol officers.

What isn’t in the package

Democrats tried to push for protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and create pathways to citizenship for members of that group, as well as for Temporary Protected Status recipients and undocumented immigrants, but the measures failed to move forward.

“We’re going to continue to push for that like we always do. We’re really disappointed that that isn’t in there,” Rosen said.

Make the Road, a nonprofit organization focused on helping immigrant communities, expressed disappointment when the text of the omnibus package was released Tuesday.

“Congress’s failure to include a path to citizenship in its end-of-year negotiations is a brutal blow for millions of immigrant youth, TPS recipients, farmworkers, undocumented immigrants, their families, and our economy,” Yaritza Mendez, co-director of organizing of Make the Road New York, said in a statement. “For Senate Democrats, this was your time to step up and make this a priority after years of inaction. For Senate Republicans who have demagogued on immigration while periodically claiming to care about immigrant youth, this was your opportunity to come to the table. Instead, Congress will funnel billions of dollars into the detention and deportation machine, endangering our communities.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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