December 31, 2018

Cortez Masto Highlights Legislative Achievements in 115th Congress

Senator secures over $468 million for Nevada during first two years in office

Washington, D.C. – During the 115th Congress, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) passed critical legislation to improve the lives of Nevadans, including legislation to address the unique economic needs of Nevada’s rural communities, build new public health infrastructure to promote effective Alzheimer’s interventions, and study the link between domestic violence and traumatic brain injury to better treat survivors. Additionally, the senator secured over $468 million in funding for projects and programs benefitting Nevadans.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish for the Silver State. From making the investments that ensure Nevada continues to be the Innovation State, to providing our military and law enforcement with the necessary tools to keep Nevadans safe, I have worked across the aisle to pass legislation that puts Nevada and its people first,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “As your next senior senator, I enter the 116th Congress with renewed energy to protect Nevadans’ health care, create good-paying jobs, expand affordable housing, and improve the lives of all Nevada families.”

BACKGROUND:

Senator Cortez Masto has fought for the passage of numerous bipartisan pieces of legislation during the 115th Congress. In total, she passed over twenty pieces of legislation into law and helped secure more than $468 million in federal funding for military, health care, infrastructure, housing, and education projects throughout Nevada. 

Health Care:

BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act: This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto and passed by Congress, will fund and promote effective Alzheimer’s interventions, improve early detection, and avoid preventable hospitalizations by establishing Centers of Excellence to educate the public and health departments on the illness.

Bipartisan Opioids Package: The bipartisan opioids package, signed into law by President Trump in October, includes two bipartisan bills introduced by Senator Cortez Masto.

·       SENIOR Communities Protection Act: This bill will protect seniors from criminals who misuse the Medicare system to illicitly acquire opioids and other prescription drugs. It also gives Medicare Part D, or the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the ability to suspend payments to pharmacies under investigation for fraud.

·       Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act: This bill will hold fraudulent substance abuse treatment programs and recovery centers accountable by empowering the Federal Trade Commission to take action to combat scams.

Science, Technology and Innovation:

NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act: This bill, cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto and signed into law by the President, will provide a consistent set of standards and resources for small businesses to help best protect their digital assets from cybersecurity threats.

Increased Aviation Safety through Contract Towers Act: Senator Cortez Masto introduced this amendment to the 2019 FAA reauthorization bill. It makes the construction of contract towers for air-traffic control at smaller airports, like the Boulder City Airport, eligible for additional federal funding.

Drone Safety Enhancement Act: This legislation, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the 2019 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, funds measures to improve drone safety and fund a public awareness campaign.

Rural Development:

The creation of a “Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development” and a “Rural Broadband Integration Working Group”: This legislation, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the 2019 Farm Bill, will create a council to address rural issues and promote smart communities. It also creates a stand-alone working group to address federal regulatory barriers impeding rural broadband development.

Banking:

Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act: Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored this bipartisan legislation that will step up enforcement against perpetrators of crimes targeting seniors and force the Department of Justice to have stricter guidelines that protect the elderly.

Eliminating Taxpayer Subsidies for Lobbyists: This legislation, authored by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the 2018 tax bill, eliminates a loophole that allows corporations to write off expenses for lobbying efforts at the local level. 

Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy (MOBILE) Banking Act: This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto, lets consumers open a bank account online using a copy of the individual’s driver’s license or personal identification card. This will ensure more Nevadans have access to financial services.

Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking:

A Study on the Relationship between Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injuries: A bill authored by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the Health and Human Services 2019 funding bill requires the Government Accountability Office to report on federal efforts to study the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries among domestic violence victims.

Abolish Human Trafficking Act: Cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto, this bill reauthorizes anti-human trafficking programs from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and strengthens the U.S. government’s approach to combating trafficking.

Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017: This bill, cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto and signed into law in February, would require all adults working at a facility under the jurisdiction of a national governing body to immediately report all suspicions of child sex abuse to law enforcement.

Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA): This bill, cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto, will ensure that websites that intentionally facilitate sex trafficking to be held liable and allows victims to get their fair day in court.

Gun Violence Prevention:

Fix NICS Act of 2017: This bill, passed in the 2018 omnibus bill, is aimed at preventing violent felons and domestic abusers from purchasing a gun and strengthens the federal background check system in order to safeguard American communities from gun violence.

Energy and the Environment:

No Funding for Yucca Mountain: Senator Cortez Masto has worked in a bipartisan manner to block any funding to restart the failed Yucca Mountain project.  

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018: This legislation included Senator Cortez Masto’s provisions to help preserve $181 million in federal funding for critical flood control projects in the Truckee Meadows.

Generating Revenue for Electric and Emission-Negligible (GREEN) Vehicles at Airports Act: This legislation, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto for inclusion in the FAA reauthorization bill, allows the purchase and lease of zero-emission vehicles to be eligible for funding within the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). It also authorizes DOT to establish a new zero-emission airport technology program.

Veterans and Military Affairs:

VA Nursing Home Oversight: The legislation, authored by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the Veterans Affairs funding bill, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s office to conduct an investigation of all VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) rated with a one-star rating in the past two years.

Legislation requiring the president to report U.S. strategy in Syria: Included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019, this bill, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto, holds the president accountable for developing a strategy to combat threats facing the United States, Israel, and other allies from the conflict in Syria.

Legislation supporting Nevada’s RPA Community: Written by Senator Cortez Masto for the 2019 NDAA, this bill directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct analysis on ways to improve services and reduce stress for Nevada’s remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) members and their families.

Bipartisan legislation to improve the quality of military housing: This bill, authored by Senator Cortez Masto and included in the 2019 NDAA, improves housing on military bases by calling on the Department of Defense to increase oversight of privatized military housing.

Bipartisan legislation to prepare the U.S. for advances in artificial intelligence technology: This bill, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto, commissions a study on the future of the development of artificial intelligence and its implications for the Department of Defense.

Military Construction Projects: Senator Cortez Masto secured $96.9 million in the 2019 Minibus I spending bill for military construction projects at the National Guard Readiness Center in North Las Vegas, Creech Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base. In addition, she secured $190 million in the 2018 NDAA for defense projects throughout the state.

Additionally, Senator Cortez Masto played a key role in helping state and local government, universities, hospitals, and non-profit groups secure critical federal dollars for projects and improvements benefitting the people of Nevada. Below are some of the most important grants awarded to Nevada during the 115th Congress.

Relief for 1October Survivors: The Department of Justice awarded $16.7 million in emergency assistance funding to individuals impacted by the 1October Massacre. In addition, in response to an inquiry from Senator Cortez Masto, UnitedHealthcare waived all cost-sharing for full-insured consumers affected by the shooting and provided a free emotional-support helpline.

Terrorism Preparedness Grant for the City of Las Vegas: The Department of Homeland Security awarded Las Vegas $5 million to improve preparedness in case of terror attacks and improve the ability of communities to prevent and respond to such attacks.

BUILD Grant for Las Vegas and RTC of Southern Nevada: The Department of Transportation awarded $5,319,838 in grant funding to the City of Las Vegas and the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada to support Southern Nevada’s advancements in autonomous vehicle utilization and to fund the GoMed project, which will connect passengers from Downtown Las Vegas to the Las Vegas Medical District.

TIGER Program Grant to Carson City: The Department of Transportation awarded Carson City $7.5 million to help construct new roads, improve existing infrastructure, and build a fiber-optic communications network that can support SMART community initiatives.

Public Health Grants to Nevada Community Health Centers and Treatment Centers: The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a total of $13.6 million to support substance abuse programs and mental health programs. The HHS also provided over $13 million to help support health services for Nevada’s seniors and low-income families. 

Rural Airport Grants to Rural Nevada Airports: The Department of Transportation awarded rural Nevada airports more than $4.6 million to make repairs and improvements.

Environmental Grants for Nevada’s Tribal Communities: The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $5.8 million to tribes in Nevada for water quality monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, energy efficiency, and wastewater recycling and treatment.

Environmental Grants for Nevada’s Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) awarded $20.8 million in grant funding to thirty drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects in Nevada.

Public Higher Education Grants to Nevada’s Universities: The University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas were awarded over $11 million in grant funding for research and development projects.