Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the spending agreement that passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate and is on its way to the President’s desk for signature. The Senator fought for the elimination of surprise medical billing, the extension of renewable energy investment tax credits, and the passage of her ACCESS BROADBAND Act to ensure Nevadans have easier access to federal broadband programs.
“The money Congress appropriated in this omnibus is a commitment to investing in the lives of hardworking Nevadans and Americans across the country. Every year, the federal government passes critical funding that countless people and industries rely on, from medical providers and teachers to our service members and small business owners. This bipartisan agreement contains legislative priorities that I’ve long fought for, including the extension of the Investment Tax Credit that supports Nevada’s solar energy industry and its workforce and the passage of my bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act to help Nevadans access high quality internet. In this bill, Congress has built upon the great work in the Silver State to protect Americans from surprise bills under a more fair, transparent, and patient-centered health care system. I’ll continue to work to ensure we are adequately funding the programs that will support our nation and our economy as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Below is a list of Senator Cortez Masto’s legislative priorities for Nevadans that were included in the Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus spending bill:
- No funding to restart the Yucca Mountain project in FY2021 appropriations.
- Legislation to end surprise billing. This bipartisan, bicameral agreement would prohibit out-of-network providers from billing a patient for costs incurred during emergencies and certain non-emergencies where patients don’t have the ability to choose an in-network provider, while honoring state laws and regulations thereof.
- Expanded access to telehealth mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Physician workforce development provisions that will provide for the distribution of additional Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) residency positions throughout rural Nevada.
- An extension of certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic funding through 2023.
- Passage of legislation to enhance transparency in health care by requiring reporting of drug pricing and contracting information to Congressional advisory agencies.
Technology and Transportation
- Senator Cortez Masto fought for the inclusion of her bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act to establish a centralized office for the coordination and ease in using federal broadband programs, and the tracking and result of federal spending.
- $6 million for drone test sites and an additional $1 million for public awareness on how to safely operation drones. Nevada’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test site is helping the Silver State remain at the forefront of drone technology.
- A one-year extension of the alternative fuel refueling property credit, which provides a tax credit for electric charging infrastructure and other alternative fuels, similar to legislation Senator Cortez Masto introduced in 2019.
- $50 million for FTA Low and No Emission Busses Grants. Senator Cortez Masto has consistently supported provisions to improve the nation’s supply of low and no-emission busses.
- $175 million for battery and electrification technologies, including $40 million for electric drive research, an additional $45 million to advance zero-emissions goals in heavy duty transportation, and other funds for cleaner transportation, like school buses, that Senator Cortez Masto led efforts to support.
Green Energy Investment and Natural Resources
- Legislation included in this package, thanks to Senator Cortez Masto’s advocacy, extends the Investment Tax Credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit for solar, which were scheduled to phase down at the end of the year. Senator Cortez Masto was able to successfully advocate for two additional years of renewable energy tax credits for the solar industry and its workers.
- The package also includes language to extend the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects for one more year.
- The Invasive Species in Alpine Lakes Pilot Program, which will provide up to $25 million over the next three years to protect our alpine lakes and the unique ecosystems they support – including Lake Tahoe.
- An additional $4.088 million in funding for the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act for invasive species management.
- As part of the broad energy package, the bill includes provisions from Senator Cortez Masto’s GEO Act, which reduces barriers for geothermal development, and her Energy and Water Research Integration Act, which requires further consideration of water conservation for federal energy research and projects.
- Expands the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to increase production of affordable housing.
- Increased funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s rental assistance programs by $3.8 billion and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural rental assistance program by $35 million.
- $3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, which includes $52 million for rapid rehousing for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
- $1.3 billion for HOME Investment Partnership Program and $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants.
Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans
- $1.5 million requested by Senator Cortez Masto for cyber resiliency for weapons systems like those used at Nevada’s military instillations.
- $285 million for the acquisition of nine additional MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, many of which fly out of Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases.
- A correction to the under-funding in the President’s budget for the F-35 program and funding for an 17 additional F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
- $100 million for State Veterans Homes to address COVID-19.
- $29 million in funding for military construction at Naval Air Station Fallon.
Law Enforcement Mental Health
- $8 million in grant funding to directly assist state and local law enforcement agencies to improve mental health services, conduct training to reduce the stigma of officers seeking help, and implement programs to better handle repeated exposure to stress and trauma.
- $3 million for data collection and analysis on law enforcement suicides.
- Provisions supported by Senator Cortez Masto to strengthen oversight of and reduce the reliance on immigration enforcement and detention, including report language on sensitive locations and $440 million for alternatives to detention for vulnerable populations.
Senate Rules Committee
- The National Museum of the American Latino Act cosponsored by Senator Cortez Masto to establish a museum honoring the contributions of American Latinos.
Other vital funding appropriated in the package includes:
- $114 billion in SNAP benefits and $25.1 billion for child nutrition programs to provide free or reduced-price school lunches and snacks.
- $90 billion for VA medical care, including $10.3 billion for mental health care services.
- $635 million for USDA’s ReConnect rural broadband program.
- $40.6 billion for K-12 education programs throughout the nation.
- $2 billion for Amtrak, which is $1.1 billion above the President’s budget request.
- $513.5 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs.
- $484 million for Byrne JAG and $386 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program for state and local law enforcement programs.
- $360 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire And Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants and an additional $360 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants.
- $346 million for the Economic Development Administration to invest in projects to revitalize communities.
- $272 million for Entrepreneurial Development Programs, including $23 million for Women’s Business Centers and $136 million for Small Business Development Centers.
- $189 million in additional funding for the Indian Health Services than appropriated in FY2020.
- $189 million to address sexual assault kit and other DNA evidence backlogs.
- $115 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
- $84 million for the Minority Business Development Agency.
- $57 million increase in funding for Community Health Centers.
- $35 million for the Mental Health Block Grant program’s crisis care initiative.
- $20 million to provide legal aid to low-income tenants at risk of evictions.