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October 31, 2019

NEWS: Inhofe Applauds Senate Passage of Appropriations Bills to Benefit Oklahomans

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) applauded the passage of four appropriations bills today. These bills fund nearly one-third of all non-defense discretionary spending and provide the necessary funding for the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other agencies.

“I am glad we were able to pass these vital appropriations bills today—a first step to fully funding the government,” Inhofe said. “This legislation includes many of my provisions that benefit Oklahomans, including funding to maintain and operate rural flood prevention infrastructure, support our law enforcement community, advance aviation workforce development and invest in competitive grant programs that will benefit our state and local communities for years to come.

“While I am pleased with the wins for Oklahoma in this appropriations package, it is vitally important that we next approve the FY20 defense spending measure, and I hope the Democrats will cooperate in the same manner on this package we passed today.”

The bill includes $175 million for flood prevention projects and activities. This adheres to Inhofe’s request to fully fund the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program and empowers the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with local sponsors to install watershed protection and improvement projects.

“This spring, Oklahomans across the state faced record rainfall and severe weather, leading to widespread destruction and flooding. Securing this funding will improve and modernize existing flood protection structures in rural watersheds that protect the lives and property of all Oklahomans.”  

The bill also included $545 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program, the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.

“By improving mental-health crisis response training in the law enforcement community, we can better help officers, individuals in crisis and our entire community,” Inhofe said. “This funding has the capacity to help a lot of Oklahomans who are on the front lines making sure we are safe on a daily basis. I am proud to continue to fight for the betterment of the law enforcement community in Congress.”

Earlier this year, Inhofe introduced legislation to improve law enforcement behavioral health crisis response training.

Background on Inhofe provisions:

Department of Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS)

Department of Agriculture

  • Provides $3.2 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This maintains the existence of the current facilities, including the three in Oklahoma: Woodward, El Reno and Stillwater.
  • Provides $6.9 billion in lending authority for rural electric cooperatives to finance affordable and reliable electricity.
  • Provides $500 million in loans and budget authority for rural community facilities. Loan funding and budget authority ensures that rural communities continue to receive financial support from the private sector in the construction and improvement of community facilities, such as hospitals and schools, which provide essential public services in rural areas.

Department of the Interior

  • Directs an increase of $2 million over last year for “Safe and Sustainable Water Resources program.” Facilities like the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center in Ada, Okla., could benefit from this increase to build on groundwater research on Enhanced Aquifer Recharge.
  • Prohibition on funds being used to regulate the lead content of ammunition, ammunition components or fishing tackle to ensure no de facto ban on ammunition or fishing tackle for Oklahoma’s sportsmen.

Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

  • Provides $5 million for aviation workforce development, as authorized by Inhofe’s provision in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
  • Fully funds the Air Traffic Control Contract Tower Program, which includes six air traffic control towers located in Oklahoma.
  • Instructs the FAA to address the aging air traffic control facilities it leases.
  • Includes $1 billion for BUILD Grant funding, and $46.3 billion in Highway Trust Fund funding per the FAST Act. Last year, Oklahoma received $26.5 million in BUILD grant funding.
  • Prohibits enforcement of Electronic Logging Device Rule with respect to livestock haulers. This provision, coupled with the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act, which Inhofe cosponsored earlier this year, would further ease regulatory burdens on Oklahomans.

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