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Agricultural News

Jim Inhofe Applauds Senate Passage of Appropriations Bills that Support Rural Development in Okla.

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 14:47:05 CDT

Jim Inhofe Applauds Senate Passage of Appropriations Bills that Support Rural Development in Okla. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) applauded the passage of four appropriations bills today. These bills provide the necessary funding for the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies.

“I am pleased the Senate continues to pass appropriations legislation through regular order,” Sen. Inhofe said. “The bills today include many provisions I authored that will benefit Oklahomans by supporting rural community development, agricultural research, airport and surface transportation infrastructure, rural electric utilities and even our inland waterways. By expanding opportunity in rural communities, we can drive greater economic growth for families and businesses. Additionally, I worked to ensure that the Agricultural Research Service facilities in Oklahoma will remain open and continue their important research. The legislation also provides needed investments to programs for fighting wildfires and ensures that the Indian Health Service is fully funded.”

The final bill also included an amendment from Sen. Inhofe that would support inland waterways, like MKARNS, by directing DOT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work together to develop a path forward to allow alternative funding eligibility for inland waterways improvements.

“The MKARNS and other inland waterways are a positive option for shipping freight because water transport is cost effective and reduces the burden and congestion on our roads and railways. Yet, waterways are in need of maintenance and repairs with limited federal resources for improvements. My amendment would direct DOT and the Army Corps to discuss a path forward to provide non-traditional funding for inland waterways improvements. This amendment would further support efforts to advance construction and maintenance of the MKARNS and the economic benefit it provides Oklahoma.”

Sen. Inhofe also cosponsored a provision that would strengthen our ability to prevent Chinese-owned companies from dominating the transit market by blocking Federal Transit Administration funds from procuring transit rolling stock from entities owned, directed or operated by China.

“China’s state-owned companies should never be able to have influence over our domestic rolling stock operations – but that is just what they are trying to do. China’s using their state-owned companies, which are heavily and unfairly subsidized, to undercut our own production ability. China’s goal is for the United States to be entirely reliant on them for our rolling stock operation, leaving us vulnerable to economic coercion. The amendment I cosponsored with Sen. Cornyn would curb China’s efforts to dominate our domestic production of rolling stock and weaken our national security.”

Background on Inhofe provisions:

- $2.73 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Added language to maintain the existence of the current facilities, including the three in Oklahoma: Woodward, El Reno and Stillwater.

- $5.5 billion in lending authority for rural electric cooperatives to finance affordable and reliable electricity.

- Over $3 billion in loans and budget authority for rural community facilities. Loan funding and budget authority ensures that rural communities continue to receive financial support from the private sector in the construction an d improvement of community facilities, such as hospitals and schools, that provide essential public services in rural areas.

- $150 million for flood prevention projects and activities.

- $3.5 million for Cervid health activities.

- $750 million for airport infrastructure funding.

- Fully funded Contract Tower Program.

- Secured report language to direct FAA to address antiquated air traffic control facilities, like the one at Tulsa International Airport.

- Prohibition on funds being used to regulate the lead content of ammunition, ammunition components or fishing tackle.

Editor's Note: After the release of the Senator's remarks above, we inquired about the current status of the appropriation bills aforementioned. According to Inhofe's staff, those bills are still in the process of being reconciled with the House.

Source - The Office of Senator Jim Inhofe



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