US House annual spending bills include $97 million for 55 Nevada projects – The Nevada Independent
Hello and welcome to the Indy DC Download newsletter, a weekly overview of what’s happening in the nation’s capital as it relates to Nevada.
If a colleague or associate has emailed you this newsletter, please Click here to sign up and get your own copy of Indy DC Download delivered to your inbox.
Nevada’s four House lawmakers are set to receive $97 million for 55 projects in the dozen or so fiscal year 2023 spending bills approved by the House Appropriations Committee.
That number and those plans could change with the Senate’s contribution later this year. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to mark any of its annual spending measures. The House as a whole will deal with the bills later this month. The projects would get the funds after both houses approve the compromise bills and the president signs them into law. In recent years, this has only happened well after the end of the fiscal year, on September 30. Last year’s bills were not completed until March.
Highlights of the projects include $6 million requested by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), the highest amount granted among Nevada House lawmakers, to build erosion control structures for the Las Vegas Wash, a 12-mile canal that connects the Las Vegas Valley with Lake Mead, the area’s main source of drinking water.
Most of the Nevada-directed funds were included in the six bills approved Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in party line votes. The other six measures were approved by the committee earlier in June.
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), a member of the committee, said in a recent interview that he opposes the bills because the legislation was written by Democrats, who hold a majority in the House and fund Democratic priorities.
Democrats “write the bills and we vote ‘no’ on every one of them,” Amodei said in a recent interview. “And then when they get to the [House] floor, it will probably be the same way.
Amodei added that he hopes negotiations with the Senate will change the bills enough for them to win his vote, which happened with the bills of the previous year.
Last year, one of Amodei’s priorities was the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortions. The layout pays homage to former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). Senate Republican negotiators were successful in including this provision, one of the reasons Amodei backed the final omnibus package.
The House GOP has sought to add a Hyde Amendment and other abortion-restricting provisions to some of the fiscal year 2023 measures, but Democrats, including Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), who also sits in committee, blocked them.
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision revoking a constitutional right to abortion, Lee delivered a speech on the importance of abortion rights during the debate on the bill funding the State Department. The GOP tried to add an amendment that would prevent foreign aid from being used to fund abortions.
“I personally support a woman’s right to choose. The Nevadans I represent support the right to choose and the vast majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose,” Lee said. “I think we will all do everything in our power to make sure that, following the Supreme Court’s sweeping decision, and following this extreme amendment, we will protect that right no matter where anyone goes.” one lives.”
She also spoke out against an amendment proposed, then withdrawn, by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) budget that would prevent federal funds from being spent on the construction of private temporary storage of nuclear waste. Lee argued that the amendment would limit the DOE as it works to find a location to build temporary facilities.
“This amendment would completely derail the progress that has been made toward these alternatives,” Lee said, adding that the DOE has heard of more than 200 sites wanting to host facilities.
The DOE continued temporary storage of nuclear waste instead of building a repository at Yucca Mountain outside Las Vegas, which was designated as a permanent site to store nuclear waste in 1987. Lee reiterated his opposition to the project Yucca never completed and added that she supports current DOE efforts to find a temporary storage location with the consent of the local community.
Fiscal year 2023 is the second year Congress has authorized member-directed spending in the appropriations process — also known as appropriations and community project funding — since Congress banned the practice in 2011.
The $97 million for 55 projects is a first marker that officials will square with Senate spending requests.
The spending measures would fund the budgets of the Departments of Transportation (DOT), Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), Commerce (DOC), Justice (DOJ), and the Interior ( DOI), among other agencies.
Nevada House lawmakers would receive $37.3 million for 13 transportation projects, $25.3 million for 18 DOL and HHS projects, $19 million for seven DOI projects, and $11.77 million for dollars for 11 DOC and DOJ related projects.
The Nevada Republican would receive the highest total funding from House members in the state, $32.2 million for 15 projects under the bills. The largest amount – $4.36 million – would go to a sewage treatment plant dewatering press. Amodei requested $5 million for the project.
Used to separate liquids from solids, the press would help the Fallon Wastewater Treatment Plant treat biosolids generated at the plant. The project would also reduce the number of biosolids, allow the city to eliminate some of its wastewater treatment lagoons, and allow the city to manage and operate its plan with the city’s expected growth.
Amodei would receive $14 million for five transportation projects. A project in Washoe would receive $4 million for preliminary engineering, design and environmental impact studies to reconstruct a 3.7-mile segment of Lemmon Drive between Fleetwood Drive and Ramsey Way above the 100-year-old floodplain. The project would also improve safety in historically disadvantaged communities in the area, build dedicated bike lanes and a separate multi-purpose path, and widen Lemmon Drive from Fleetwood Drive to Palace Drive.
Lee would get the second-highest level of funding under House bills, $26.6 million for 15 projects.
These include $5 million, the second-highest amount for a single Nevada project, for improvements to the Henderson Interstate 515 and Interstate 11 interchange. The project would address existing road deficiencies at the Henderson Interchange and surrounding roads and provide transportation improvements to serve current and future growth areas. The interchange was built between 2004 and 2006 and improvements are needed to meet increased demand and ensure traffic safety.
Lee also secured $3 million for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s septic conversion program. The program covers up to 85% of the cost of converting a septic tank to a sewer connection, which can total between $20,000 and $200,000. Homes on septic tanks use six times the amount of water consumed by homes connected to a sewer system in the Las Vegas Valley.
Horsford would get $21 million for 14 projects, including $6 million for the Las Vegas Wash.
Other projects funded by Horsford’s appropriations request include the expansion of the Grover C. Dils Medical Center in Caliente. Among other things, the center would increase its acute rooms from four to six, including the addition of negative pressure rooms to accommodate infectious diseases or COVID-19 cases. In long-term care, the establishment would go from 16 to 20 single occupancy beds.
Horsford also secured $2.5 million for WestCare Nevada, a Henderson-based nonprofit that provides treatment for substance use disorders statewide. WestCare plans to build transitional housing for 84 women and their children in Las Vegas.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) would receive $17 million for 11 projects, including $3.57 million for the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) to install a pedestrian detection and avoidance system collisions on more than 350 transit vehicles.
The system will also allow the RTC to collect alert data that will help identify areas of conflict between pedestrians or cyclists and vehicles and identify additional infrastructure improvement needs, such as median fences, lanes bike lanes, wider sidewalks or improved crosswalks.
Titus also requested $2 million for the Clark County Water Reclamation District, a wastewater treatment agency. The project would finance the removal of old water pipes, including obsolete pipes containing asbestos, the installation of new water pipes, meters and valves, and related construction activities.
For a full look at the measures delegates supported or opposed this week, see The Nevada IndependentCongressional vote tracking and other information below.