Axne Votes to Invest in Health and Education, Infrastructure, and Rural Communities

December 17, 2019
Press Release
The bill includes extension of the biodiesel tax credit, repeal of harmful healthcare taxes, and Axne-led provision blocking Congressional pay raises

Washington D.C. — Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to pass a package of appropriations bills and tax extenders, investing in key programs that help Iowans and provides funding certainty for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020.

“These investments in Iowa will be key to increasing access to health care and a quality education, investing in our rural communities, growing small business investments, helping our seniors, ensuring environmental protections and honoring our responsibilities to our veterans,” said Rep. Axne. “In addition, I’m happy to see much-needed tax provisions to extend critical biofuel tax credits and permanently repeal health care taxes that would hurt Iowans.”

The bill includes a revival of the biodiesel tax credit until 2022 and an extension of the second generation biofuel tax credits until 2021, provisions that Rep. Axne has fought for since coming to Congress — and which will create good-paying green jobs, support Iowa farmers and producers.

The bill passed by the House today, H.R. 1865, provides funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and other key executive branch agencies and programs.

A number of provisions in the final bill reflect priorities for Iowa and issues which Rep. Axne wrote to members of the House Appropriations Committee to advocate for:

  • $3.4 billion for Community Development Block Grants to provide grants to cities, counties, and rural areas to help meet the needs of low-income families
  • $1.5 billion in unspent 2017 funds for disaster relief, which can now go to those impacted by the 2019 flooding
  • $2.8 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, $27 million for Diabetes Prevention Program, and $195 million for the Cancer Moonshot research initiative at the National Institutes of Health
  • $10.6 billion for Head Start and $13.9 billion for Special Education
  • $640 million investment in rural broadband to support education, healthcare, and economic development
  • $196 million for Family Caregiver Services, which supports those who are providing care to their families and loved ones
  • $405 million for the Senior Community Services Employment for Older Americans Program
  • $2.8 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Grants for skills training programs
  • Increases the maximum Pell Grant to $6,345.00, to help keep pace with inflation
  • $16 million for the Zero Suicide program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including for children and youth; and $19 million for the Suicide Lifeline
  • $80.2 billion for medical care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including $222 million in suicide prevention outreach activities
  • $400 million for Airport Improvement Grants and $2.2 billion for Highway Infrastructure Programs

The bill also includes a provision championed by Rep. Axne to block a pay raise for her and her fellow members of Congress, and a permanent repeal of the health insurance, ‘Cadillac,’ and medical device taxes – which Rep. Axne called on House leadership to include in the year-end deal.

In addition, divisions of this legislation include bills that Rep. Axne has supported, including: H.R. 1175, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act; H.R. 510, the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act; H.R. 2147, the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands (RURAL) Act; H.R. 1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act; H.R. 2284, the Disaster Tax Relief Bill Act; H.R. 3851, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act; and H.R. 4634, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019.

A product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, this legislation also ensures that the government remains open for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, providing budget certainty to federal employees and their families ahead of the holidays.