Rep. Axne Votes to Bring Iowa Robust Investments in Health, Education, Clean Energy, and Prosperity

July 31, 2020
Press Release
Appropriations package includes provisions Axne fought for to protect teachers’ mental health, expand child care services, and improve broadband connectivity

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to advance a package of six appropriations bills to fund investments in the health, safety, and prosperity of Iowans.

“Today’s appropriations package showcases the many ways that federal investments help improve the lives of Iowa’s families, the prosperity of our communities, and the infrastructure and resiliency of our state as we face new and continuing challenges,” 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 education, clean energy innovation, 21st century connectivity for our businesses, and protecting towns from natural disasters.”

The legislation includes multiple provisions that Rep. Axne worked to secure over the first half of 2020, including an expansion of grants for child care services, funding to rapidly expand rural broadband services and update broadband maps, and the first-ever inclusion of language highlighting the need to address the mental health needs of America’s teachers.

Rep. Axne requested the K-12 teacher mental health language in today’s bill after a 2019 report found that 225 teachers decided to leave Des Moines public schools for reasons other than retirement, with many citing mental health and stress as reasons for leaving their positions.

Investments in the package passed today contained numerous Rep. Axne priorities, including:

  • $5.9 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants, a $100 million increase over the funding provided last fiscal year
  • $29 billion for water infrastructure, including $3.8 billion for Army Corps Operations and Maintenance and $2.6 billion for Army Corps Construction
  • $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD grants)
    • The bill also includes deadline flexibility for FY20 BUILD grant recipients, such as the Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization’s $25 million grant for the Central Iowa Water Trails dam mitigation project, due to COVID-19
  • $758 million for Community Mental Health Block Grants at HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, a $35 million increase over Fiscal Year 2020
  • $60 billion in emergency funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand broadband access in unserved areas
  • $73 million to update broadband mapping under the Broadband DATA Act, an Axne-led bill that was signed into law in March 2020
  • $310 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program for energy efficiency upgrades for low-income households

The package includes funding to support the Fiscal Year 2021 budgets for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Energy, Commerce, and other federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Army Corps of Engineers, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“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.”

Funding included in this legislation also includes:

  • $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $5 billion in emergency funding to improve capacity at research institutions
  • $8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as $9 billion in emergency funds to improve preparedness for public health emergencies
  • $7.5 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, and an additional $17 billion in emergency funding to accelerate work on Corps projects to put Americans back to work
  • $5.65 billion for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Centers
  • $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants
  • $2.85 billion for Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program to advance research to advance a transition to a clean and affordable energy economy
  • $435 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency to promote research and development of advanced energy technologies
  • $356 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to improve infrastructure and improve economically recovering communities
  • $525 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs

Last week, the House advanced a package of four appropriations bills to invest in Iowa agriculture, rural communities, veterans care, and environmental protection.

Rep. Axne has also been focused on making government grants more accessible and transparent.

Last year, President Trump signed the Axne-sponsored Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of 2019 into law, streamlining the outdated and burdensome federal grant process, making it easier and cheaper for Iowans to apply for grants, and allowing taxpayers to better track government spending.