WASHINGTON — A pre-emptive strike to protect a Southern Nevada program from the budget ax was launched in the House.
Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., is asking House appropriators to keep intact the Southern Nevada Public Land Management program in the budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.
The program was created under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act in 1998. The program directs money from federal land sales to the state’s general education fund and to the Southern Nevada Water Authority for infrastructure projects.
More than $3.5 billion in land sales has resulted in 1,200 projects across the state, Rosen said.
Rosen said she has “written to appropriators to ask their full support for programs that have benefited Nevada’s economy, environment, and the health and safety of my constituents.”
The Trump administration unveiled a “skinny” budget blueprint to lawmakers last month.
The $1.1 trillion budget blueprint includes top-line funding for departments, but does not include line-item funding proposals for projects. Those details are expected to be released in May.
Lawmakers must also address funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. The Trump administration is seeking increases for military and money for a border wall.
Current spending must be addressed by April 28, when a continuing resolution must be passed to keep the government funded. The Trump administration has proposed tapping into the public land program and cuts to hundreds of programs to find funds to offset their increases.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said the proposal calls for rescinding $230 million from the program, generated from previous land sales within Clark County. This rescission would prohibit the Interior Department from implementing public works, wildfire prevention, and wildlife conservation initiatives throughout Nevada in coming years.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., also vowed to protect SNPLMA from budget cuts.
“Any suggestion to nix this vital program illustrates a complete misunderstanding of the benefits it brings to our state. This is one more proposal on a list of ill-advised Republican schemes,” she said.
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