Spending bill passed by Senate to impact Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Spending bill passed by Senate to impact Mississippi

(Photo source: MDAH website) (Photo source: MDAH website)
MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

A spending bill on President Barack Obama’s desk has multiple components that will impact South Mississippi.

The bill, which passed with a Senate vote of 65-33 and still has to be signed by the president, adheres to the spending caps outlined by the budget agreement passed in October by Congress. 

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker voted in favor of the bill. 

“Funding the federal government is a constitutional responsibility,” Wicker said. “This legislation is not perfect. It does, however, include provisions that provide stability for our armed forces and prioritizes the needs of many Mississippi families and businesses. I support the important progress made to rebuild our military strength after years of misguided budget cuts. In addition to important tax relief and essential cybersecurity reforms, the legislation also advances care for our veterans, encourages economic development, and makes improvements to Mississippi’s infrastructure.”

Additionally, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran was instrumental in the development of the bill. 

“The omnibus bill will support projects and programs that are important to the economy and ecology of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and South Mississippi,” Cochran said. “I am particularly pleased that the Congress has agreed to provide advanced funding to continue our goal of ensuring the Navy and Coast Guard have the modern vessels they need to carry out their missions.”

In addition to funding new warships, putting federal dollars into a study that could bring passenger trains back to the coast, and blocking any attempt to force the state to allow larger truck on the road, leaders say the bill is a victory.

Below is a list of items that, according to Sen. Wicker, will benefit the state of Mississippi:

  • Holding the line on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, and maintaining the agency’s lowest staffing levels since 1989; 
  • Reducing the IRS budget by a total of $1.2 billion since 2010, cutting the agency’s number of seasonal and full-time employees by 18,000;
  • Funding for a new amphibious ship and two new destroyers that will bolster our state’s vibrant shipbuilding industry; 
  • Funding the construction of 28 new UH-72A Light Utility Helicopters;
  • Delivering needed resources for the National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems;
  • Boosting funding for veterans’ health care, benefit claims processing, medical research, and technology upgrades;
  • Prohibiting the Obama Administration from transferring terrorists from Guantanamo to the United States; 
  • Stopping a taxpayer bailout of health insurance companies operating under Obamacare’s Risk Corridor Program;
  • Suspending two of Obamacare’s most harmful taxes;
  • Increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research;
  • Providing regulatory relief for long-term care hospitals; 
  • Maintaining support for community health centers, which play a vital role in providing health care to our state’s medically underserved populations.
  • Supporting pro-life policies by outlawing federal funding for abortion;
  • Strengthening economic development, workforce training, and rural broadband capabilities through the Appalachian Regional Commission;
  • Supporting rural wireless networks by prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission from making ill-advised changes to the Mobility Fund; 
  • Backing a competitive grant program to help rural and small communities provide clean, safe drinking water; 
  • Allocating funds to complete wastewater infrastructure projects and support the Inland Waterway Trust Fund;
  • Starting up the new Gulf Coast Working Group with the goal of restoring passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast; 
  • Allocating funds to back efforts related to geospatial modeling, ocean and coastal mapping, the National Data Buoy Center, and research in the northern Gulf of Mexico;
  • Delivering additional resources for the continued development and implementation of the COASTAL Act; 
  • Directing spending to projects aimed at commercializing carbon capture technology;
  • Giving farmers and ranchers the tools they need to engage in meaningful land conservation by making permanent an enhanced tax incentive; and
  • Extending permanent tax relief for small businesses purchasing farm equipment, and leveling the playing field for local timber businesses.

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