Rep. Axne, Bipartisan House Advance Critical Investments in Rural Broadband, Agriculture, and Iowa Veterans

July 24, 2020
Press Release
Appropriations package advanced today also includes funding for rural housing programs, environmental protection, and infrastructure improvements

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to advance a package of four appropriations bills containing billions in investments for programs to protect Iowa’s agricultural economy, environment, rural communities, and its veterans.

“Since the start of this year, I’ve worked with my constituents and my colleagues to secure these critical investments for central and southwest Iowa – including increases for advancing agricultural research, expanding rural broadband, and supporting our veterans,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to see these provisions included in today’s appropriations package, as well as full funding for food security programs like SNAP and WIC during a time when these programs are critical for so many Iowans.”

The package includes funding to support the Fiscal Year 2021 budgets for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Interior, Veterans Affairs (VA), and State – as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“As someone who first came to Congress in the middle of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, I’m also pleased that we are completing these bills a full two months before the end of the fiscal year,” said Rep. Axne.I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will join us in quickly advancing these measures to ensure we don’t add an avoidable government shutdown on top of this already challenging year.”

A number of provisions were included that Rep. Axne advocated for, including:

  • Over $100 billion for the Department of Veteran Affairs, including $12.5 billion in emergency funding to address the rising costs of veterans’ health care
  • Nearly $100 billion for food assistance programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Nutrition, and Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Support for more than $25 billion in rural housing loans, in addition to $1.45 billion in rental assistance
  • $4.2 billion for rural development, supporting $3.3 billion of loans for rural community facilities like hospitals, libraries, and fire stations and $8.9 billion of loans to support rural water, electric, and telephone service
  • Nearly $1 billion for ReConnect to fund rural broadband expansion, enabling greater economic opportunity and access to healthcare and education

Rep. Axne is a member of the House Rural Broadband Task Force, and has made closing the digital divide a top priority for her first term in Congress. Earlier this month, the House advanced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act to fund improved and expanded broadband access, as well as emergency deployment of hotspots and laptops for schools and libraries in rural areas.

Last month, the House advanced Rep. Axne’s bill to provide rural renter assistance through the USDA’s Section 515 and Section 521 rental housing programs – which are supported in this legislative package with more than $1 billion in funding.

The appropriations package passed today also includes:

  • $3.3 billion for agricultural research, including for the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Over $3 billion for National Park Service
  • Nearly $200 million for targeted grants for clean drinking water
  • Over $1.2 billion for EPA to clean up toxic Superfund sites
  • Over $1 billion for Food Safety and Inspection Service, which ensures the safety of the nation’s food supply chain
  • Over $1 billion for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which is responsible for detecting and preventing the spread of harmful diseases like African Swine Fever

In March, President Trump signed Rep. Axne’s bill to employ additional agricultural specialists to protect Iowa and U.S. pork supplies from the threat of African Swine Fever by increasing agricultural inspections.

This week, the House advanced legislation that Rep. Axne cosponsored, the Great American Outdoors Act, to provide additional funding to protect and restore American public lands, national parks, and environment. The legislation is expected to be signed by the President soon.