Loebsack Statement on the FY 2016 Funding Bill

Written by Theresa Rose on December 18, 2015

Legislation makes critical investments in renewable energy, education, health care, R&D, law enforcement, and early learning

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed legislation to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2016. This bipartisan, compromise legislation will create jobs and grow the economy, as well as keep the government open, avoiding another disastrous Republican shutdown.

“By passing this bill, Congress has ended the constant threat of a Republican government shutdown that the nation has been facing. But this vote was more than just a vote to keep the government open, it was a vote to be a responsible actor and put the needs of Iowans ahead of the special interests that are running Washington. This legislation is not perfect, and it is not the bill that I would have preferred. In the end, it proves there is a governing majority of Republicans and Democrats who are can work together and choose to get things done.

“This bill makes strong investments in many key areas that will grow the economy and create jobs here in Iowa and across the country in areas such as renewable energy, education, research and infrastructure. It also extends the PTC and ITC tax credits for wind and solar energy that are important to many Iowans in rural communities. I am pleased that Congress finally got its act together and worked in a commonsense manner to move our country forward.”

Highlights of the legislation include:

· Medical Research: Medical research at NIH has been underfunded for the last several years. This bill provides $900 million more than the House GOP bill and $2 billion more than 2015 for this life-saving research.

· Extension of the Wind and Solar Tax Credits (PTC/ITC): Extends the wind Production Tax Credit for five years (2015-2019), with the credit reduced by 20 percent in 2017, 40 percent in 2018, and 60 percent in 2019. Also extends the solar Investment Tax Credit for five years (2017-2021), with the credit reduced by 20 percent in 2020 and 40 percent in 2021. Extending the solar Investment Tax Credit is estimated to create 61,000 jobs in 2017 alone. It is also estimated that the wind industry will grow to over 100,000 jobs over four years with the renewed wind tax credit.

· Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy R&D: Provides an 8 percent increase over 2015 for R&D activities in the pursuit of new clean energy and energy efficiency technologies.

· Overall Education: The bill restores the $2.5 billion cut in education that the GOP had proposed and also makes critical additional investments of $1.4 billion above 2015, in such areas as Title I that serves 24 million at-risk students.

· Early Learning: Investing in Head Start produces results – and this bill invests nearly $400 million more than the House GOP bill and nearly $600 million more than 2015 in this vital initiative. The bill also provides $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, assisting 18 states across the country.

· Infrastructure: The popular TIGER grants are being used across the country to repair infrastructure and contribute to economic growth. The House GOP bill had slashed TIGER grants by 80 percent, killing jobs, but this bill restores the funding to the 2015 level of $500 million.

· Law Enforcement: The bill provides $187 million for COPS hiring grants, $7 million above the 2015 level and $187 million above the House GOP bill, which had eliminated the hiring grants. The bill also provides $80 million for the Community Policing Initiative, including $22.5 million for body-worn cameras and $15 million for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grants, an increase over the House bill.