House Passes Funding for Protecting the Great Lakes

December 18, 2015
Press Release

Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation appropriating federal funding through the rest of the federal government’s fiscal year which ends on September 30, 2016.

Representative John Moolenaar (R-Midland) voted for the legislation and released the following statement:

“Today’s compromise legislation provides $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to protect the Lakes and the $7 billion economy they support. In February, the Obama Administration proposed a $50 million cut for the GLRI and I questioned the budget director about this issue. Through the bipartisan work of members from Great Lakes states, this proposed cut has been reversed.

“In recognition of the EPA’s overreach with the Waters of the U.S. rule and other burdensome regulations, this bill cuts EPA spending by $452 million. This freezes the EPA’s staffing level at the lowest point in 25 years and forces the agency to focus on its environmental cleanup mission instead of imposing more unnecessary regulations on Michigan residents.”

“The legislation strengthens the federal government’s commitment to national security. It increases funding for border security and for protecting the nation’s electric grid from cyberattacks. It also makes changes to the visa waiver program and requires visitors to America who have traveled to terrorism hotspots to undergo rigorous background checks before entering the country.”

Highlights of the Legislation

The legislation:

  • Provides full funding, $100 million, for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beam research at Michigan State University.
  • Provides $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  • Provides $7.9 million in funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue its efforts against the spread of Asian carp.
  • Cuts funding for the EPA by $452 million.
  • Prohibits the EPA from enforcing the Clean Water Act on farmers.
  • Holds the EPA’s staffing level at the lowest point in 25 years.
  • Prohibits the EPA from regulating lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle.
  • Provides $2.7 billion, an increase of $173 million, for processing the disability claims backlog at the VA. This will support 770 additional staff members to process claims.
  • Expands whistleblower protections for VA medical staff to report wrongdoing.
  • Increases funding to protect the American electric grid from cyberattacks.
  • Reforms the visa waiver program to protect Americans from terrorists trying to enter the country.
  • Reauthorizes funding for the 9/11 First Responders Program which provides health benefits to first responders, residents and survivors of 9/11.
  • Provides a $2 billion increase to the National Institutes for Health for research on cancer and Alzheimer’s.
  • Delays the Affordable Care Act’s tax on high-cost employer-sponsored insurance (the Cadillac tax) until 2020.
  • Delays the menu labeling requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which would be a burden on small businesses, until 2017.
  • Repeals the country of origin labeling law that was a burden to farmers.

Maintains all federal pro-life policies including a prohibition on federal funds paying for abortion.