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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

McCollum Floor Remarks Supporting FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act

March 22, 2018
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Ranking Member of the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks in support of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill that the U.S. House considered on March 22, 2018:

I rise today in strong support of the Omnibus Appropriations Act. While this is not the bill that I would have written, it is nonetheless a significant victory for Minnesotans and Americans.

By investing in critical priorities like education, election integrity, housing, infrastructure, public safety, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, and veterans’ health care, this legislation keeps Minnesota and our entire country safe, strong, and moving forward.

As Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Subcommittee, my focus has been protecting our environment, upholding our commitments to Native Americans, and preserving our natural resources and cultural treasures.

This omnibus rejects President Trump's devastating cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and in fact provides $700 million to improve water infrastructure to ensure that America's water is clean and safe.

It improves education, health and public safety in Indian Country by providing a combined $700 million increase for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

And the omnibus includes new resources to address the maintenance backlog at our National Parks, it supports the Smithsonian Institution, and it increases funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Moreover, we have removed many Republican riders that attacked endangered species, undermined environmental safeguards, and jeopardized public health.

In addition, this bill ensures that the federal government will treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are and stop the ridiculous practice of forcing the Forest Service and Department of the Interior to borrow from other priorities to pay for wildfire suppression. I appreciate the hard work of all my colleagues, especially Mr. Simpson, in forging this bipartisan compromise.

Mr. Speaker, the omnibus represents a major accomplishment on behalf of the American people. I thank Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Frelinghuysen, Chairman Calvert and all of our staff for their hard work on this legislation. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this bipartisan bill.