Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 133, the omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2021, which included provisions to combat the coronavirus and put money in the pockets of working families who are struggling.
“Thousands of Americans have been holding on by a thread, desperately waiting for relief. I’m glad we were able to reach this deal, but we have not secured anywhere close to the support that’s needed to combat the coronavirus, help families, and rebuild the economy,” said Congressman Jared Huffman. “Some of our greatest successes were in support and clarity for small businesses, increased food assistance, and providing billions for vaccine deployment and the personal protective equipment stockpile.
“But the short-term duration of many critical programs and funding priorities is a disappointment, and possibly the biggest compromise we had to make to quickly get this relief passed. Republicans still refuse to put the needs of frontline workers and struggling families first, instead resorting to political stunts to prevent the incoming Biden-Harris administration from successfully confronting this crisis. State and local governments need much more funding, and lifelines for many Americans like unemployment insurance must be increased and extended. Much more is needed, and we will start negotiating immediately on a bill to extend and improve these programs that can be signed into law day one of the Biden-Harris administration.”
Huffman successfully advocated to include multiple funding and policy priorities for northwest California in the final package:
• Extends marina fee retention authority for the Shasta Trinity National Forest, which allows the Forest Service to retain fees from marina uses and special permits in the National Recreation Area and reinvest these funds in recreation and public safety improvements. This was one of Huffman’s top priority requests to support the outdoor recreation economy in Trinity County; the Shasta-Trinity Recreation Area is visited by over 2 million people each year and this authority has provided $500,000 to $800,000 annually in recent years.
• Invests in key North Coast and environmental priorities as part of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which includes increasing the set-aside for smaller “emerging ports” like those on the North Coast, prioritization of completing the feasibility study for a dam raise at Coyote Valley, and $30 million for ongoing water and boat inspection operations at Lakes Sonoma and Mendocino.
• Authorizes new water infrastructure and research programs that were part of Huffman’s FUTURE Western Water Infrastructure and Drought Resiliency Act, an ambitious water infrastructure proposal that was the culmination of months of public vetting and legislative development. The legislation includes improvements to the WaterSMART program and the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, as well as new research investments in water technology and snow water supply forecasting, and an ambitious new aquatic ecosystem restoration program that will help effort sin the Eel and Russian River basins.
• Fisheries relief: Provides $300 million in assistance to fisheries participants to help mitigate coronavirus-related economic impacts, with $30 million set aside for Tribal fisheries. The agreement also provides $1.5 billion for the USDA to purchase food and agriculture products, including seafood.
• Provides $8.9 million in funding for the EPA’s work in the San Francisco Bay, which includes habitat restoration, wetlands recovery, climate change resiliency and wildlife protection projects throughout the Bay and Delta.
• IDEA: Provides $12.9 billion for Part B grants to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which represents a $172 million dollar increase over FY20 appropriations levels and makes it possible to hire teachers, invest in safety, and provide the resources students and faculty need to adapt to new challenges brought on by the pandemic.