Fighting for Maine
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives completed the second portion of the Omnibus spending package that will fund the programs and agencies of the federal government through the 2016 Fiscal Year. This final spending package passed the House with broad bipartisan support in a 316-113 vote. Congressman Poliquin released the following statement:
“The negotiation process for this massive bill needs to be much more transparent,” said Congressman Poliquin. “Secret deals are not the way that these enormous spending bills were meant to be brokered, and going forward we must have a much more open and comprehensive process for developing these yearlong appropriations bills, letting all representatives have more say in the process.
“While I certainly agree that this bill is not perfect, there are many elements of this appropriations bill that will greatly benefit Maine.
“This bill will bolster our national security, repeal and delay key elements of ObamaCare, act to combat the terrible and growing problem of drug abuse and addiction in our State, support our mills and paper producers, and ensure that our Service personnel, active and retired, are fully supported.
“I am also very pleased that this final, bipartisan appropriations bill will include an extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and a five-year extension of the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund (VCF), ensuring that the September 11, 2001 first-responders are given the care that they undoubtedly deserve. Congress must ensure those individuals who sacrificed so much on September 11th, and in the days after, have access to the critical health benefits they need. I believe it’s of the upmost importance that these selfless men and women are fully funded, and I am pleased that Congress has come together to act on this important legislation.
“This bill also acts to bolster our national security by implementing the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, which will strengthen our visa program and secure our borders. I am also very proud that this bill will include $1 billion of funding for the production of an additional DDG-51 destroyer, that will most likely be manufactured at Bath Iron Works and provide for thousands of jobs.
“Also included in this appropriations bill are provisions to prevent harmful key policies in ObamaCare, including a two-year delay of the ObamaCare excise tax on high cost health plans, or “Cadillac Tax,” and a one-year delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT).
“This appropriations bill also will provide key funding for efforts and programs to combat drug abuse and addiction in Maine, including funding for Drug Courts, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, the Anti-Heroin Task Force, Opioid Prescription Overdose Prevention, and many more.
“This appropriations bill fully supports our mills and paper producers, the best in the world, by directing the FDA to continue its use of paper inserts for medication canisters, so our pharmacists accurately prescribe medicine to Mainers. Our mills are the best producers in the world for paper inserts, and this provision of the Omnibus will keep them operating and save more than 600 jobs.
“In addition, this bill limits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its lowest funding levels since 2008 and prevents funds for new or expanded EPA regulatory programs.
“As I’ve said, this bill is certainly not perfect and I disagree with the way in which it was put together. We must have a transparent and fair process for funding our government—not mammoth, last-minute deals. Still, this bill includes many major victories for Maine.”