Axne Votes to Approve Robust Investments in Public Health, Broadband, Skills Training, Iowa’s Rural Communities
Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to approve and advance a package of seven appropriations bills to fund investments ranging from public health and safety initiatives to expansions of federal support for broadband, skills training, and rural communities.
The legislation includes multiple provisions that Rep. Axne worked to secure over the first half of 2021, including direct funding for nine projects across Iowa’s Third Congressional District and provisions to prevent closures or delivery service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
“Today’s appropriations package showcases the many ways that federal investments help improve the lives of Iowa’s families, the health and prosperity of our communities, and the infrastructure and resiliency of our state,” said Rep. Axne. “A country’s budget reflects its values – and I’m extremely proud that the budget we’re advancing today includes the investments that reflect our commitment to supporting public health, the creation of good-paying jobs, rural reinvestment and digital connectivity for all, and a cleaner energy future that protects our communities from the impacts of a changing climate.”
Investments included in the package passed today that Rep. Axne advocated for this year include:
- A 10% increase in funding for job skills training programs through the U.S. Department of Labor, including $3.1 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants, $1.83 billion for Job Corps, and $285 million for Registered Apprenticeships.
- The bill also includes $105 million for career skills training programs at community colleges, funding that Axne successfully increased via an amendment she offered earlier this week.
- $9.16 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and $9.1 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) — nearly a 40% increase for two key public health agencies.
- SAMHSA mental health programs get an increase to $3.16 billion in this legislation, including an $825 million increase to the Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) to enable investments across the behavioral health continuum to support prevention, screening, treatment, and other services.
- The bill increases funding for first responder training to $27 million, including a 30% increase for the SIREN grant program – a boost that Rep. Axne pushed for earlier this year.
- Rural health programs would also see their funding doubled over last year’s budget, including $79 million in rural hospital support and $10 million for the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program.
- $3.77 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funding to provide clean, affordable, and secure energy and ensures American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.
- This includes $375 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which will support the weatherization of nearly 50,000 American households. Axne successfully sought this increased funding, which is $65 million more than last year’s enacted budget.
- $1 billion for the Small Business Administration, including $140 million for Small Business Development Centers.
- $800 million for the ReConnect rural broadband program, which Axne led a bipartisan effort to increase funding for earlier this year.
- Also includes an amendment Rep. Axne cosponsored to expand eligibility to more Iowa communities.
- $30.4 million for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a $30 million increase over last year’s budget, to provide guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.
- $185 million for NeighborWorks program to support unique solutions to expand affordable housing options, increase housing counseling assistance, and strengthen economic development.
The bill also includes language Axne sought to include that requires the United States Postal Service (USPS) to continue providing six-day delivery and prohibits USPS from closing or consolidating small rural post offices.
The legislation also includes $10,196,672 in direct investments for projects across Iowa’s Third Congressional District thanks to advocacy by Congresswoman Cindy Axne.
Rep. Axne worked to secure funding for nine different projects across central and southwest Iowa:
- $3,267,000 to repair glycol storage tanks at the Des Moines International Airport, supporting a planned expansion of de-icing capabilities at the airport.
- $1,600,000 to replace the bridge on County Highway R57 over the North River in Warren County, Iowa.
- $1,000,000 to begin expansion of the Stanton Child Resource Center in Stanton, Iowa.
- $1,000,000 to extend and connect sewer systems in the City of Johnston, Iowa.
- $1,000,000 to support construction of the Raccoon River East Pedestrian Bridge, which will connect Raccoon River Park on the north side of the Raccoon River in West Des Moines to Walnut Woods State Park.
- $904,336 to expand affordable housing options in Council Bluffs, Iowa by supporting construction of more than 75 affordable units at the South End Housing Development Program.
- $725,336 to expand programming and add facilities at the Ringgold Child Care Center in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
- $600,000 to repair and upgrade components at the Creston City Waterworks in Creston, Iowa.
- $100,000 to purchase dental equipment to improve dental services for low-income patients offered by Primary Health Care, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa.
Earlier this year, Rep. Axne solicited input from community members across central and southwest Iowa to identify funding opportunities that would qualify for inclusion in this year’s funding bills.
Only state, local, and certain non-profit entities were eligible to request or receive funding, and the requests made by Rep. Axne were certified to have both community support and demonstrable need in the area where the funding would be allocated.
The package of funding bills also includes other Axne priorities like:
- $97.6 billion for Veterans Medical Care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including $13.2 billion for mental health care programs – a $2.9 billion increase over last year’s funding.
- $36 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies through the U.S. Department of Education.
- $12.2 billion for Head Start programs, an increase of $1.4 billion above the FY 2021 funding level.
- $11.34 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 22% annual increase, with $3.23 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and $1.54 billion for Superfund clean-ups.
- $10.6 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a $2.7 billion increase over last year’s funding level.
- $7.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
- $3.23 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.
- $3 billion to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- $1.873 billion for farm programs, a $48.5 million increase over last year’s funding, to continue support for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs, and help American farmers and producers.
- $1.2 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (RAISE/BUILD/TIGER) grants.
The package of funding bills passed today includes the appropriations bills to fund federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins October 1.
The bills cover annual funding for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency.