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Newhouse Statement on Bipartisan Vote to Fund Federal Government and Border Security

February 14, 2019
Press Release
Legislation includes Newhouse appropriations provisions for agriculture and natural resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after voting to approve the Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 31 - Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund operations of the federal government and secure the border.

“This bipartisan deal may not go as far as I would like, but it is a compromise that makes significant progress on President Trump’s border security request while keeping the government open,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I have visited the Southern border firsthand and have heard directly from Border Patrol agents who say they need additional resources to do their job. This legislation makes substantive strides to provide tools they need to address the crisis at the border by including $2.5 billion for border barriers, technology, and personnel for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. Congress must continue to build off this success to give our men and women of the Border Patrol the tools they need to do their job.”

Rep. Newhouse continued: “The legislation contains appropriations priorities I worked to include such as keeping proprietary and personal SNAP data private and providing for hops research. I am pleased the Committee heard my concerns that the best available science must be used to assess whether the gray wolf should continue to be listed as ‘endangered’ in the lower 48 states. It also includes my language to take natural disasters and other factors into account when making grazing allotments available to western ranchers. Finally, my language was included to ensure that our wine, spirits, and craft beer industry has the ability to utilize the export program as authorized under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.”

Legislation highlights:

BORDER SECURITY – Funding for border barriers, border technology, personnel, and ICE detention beds

  • Over $2.5 billion for border barriers, surveillance, and technology
    • $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new barriers in the Rio Grande Valley, the highest priority area identified by CBP
    • Over $660 million border surveillance technology and Non-Intrusive Inspection equipment and land Ports of Entry
    • $272 million for construction and facility improvements at processing centers along the border
  • Funds 45,274 detention beds - there are no caps on detention beds and preserves ICE’s reprogramming flexibility
  • Increases the number of immigration judge teams from 395 at the end of FY18 to 534

AGRICULTURE – Language on SNAP retailers sales data, hops research, and wine/spirits/craft beer export program

·         SNAP Redemption

o   (Report Language) Retailer SNAP sales data could contain proprietary and confidential information. Should such information be made publicly available, USDA is directed to make every effort to protect confidential business information likely to cause harm to the competitive position in the retail industry, especially small grocery stores and small grocery stores in rural areas. Personal information about individual SNAP participants should also remain confidential.

·         Hops research

o   (Report Language) The conferees do not accept the President's budget request regarding the termination of research programs, redirections of research programs, or closure of research locations. The conferees expect extramural research to be funded at no less than the fiscal year 2018 levels. The conferees provide funding increases for cotton ginning, alfalfa, small grains genomics, postharvest dairy research, marine aquaculture seedstock, sugarcane, high performance computing, sugar beets, salmonella, the Pollinator Center, warmwater aquaculture, poultry, fruit fly and exotic pest control, chronic wasting disease, the Pulse Crop Health Initiative, coffee 6 germplasm, citrus germplasm, feed enhancement, food systems at land-grant institutions, greenhouse technology, long-term agro-ecosystem research, hops research, resilient dryland research, wheat and sorghum, shellfish genetics, sudden oak death, industrial hemp, oats, cranberry and blueberry research, whitefly research, and human nutrition.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

·         Duty drawback

o   (Report language) The conferees remain concerned with the duty drawback program, including the Accelerated Payment privilege and directs CBP to comply with the direction in House Report 115-948.

o   House Report 115-948: The duty drawback program, including the Accelerated Payment privilege, is an important export-promotion tool for U.S. manufacturers, exporters, and workers. Accelerated Payment claims must meet all applicable legal requirements for a complete claim using the calculation methodology that is established by CBP regulation. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) significantly changed the circumstances under which drawback can be claimed, and required the development of a new drawback calculation methodology to be codified in an updated regulation. The Committee understands that review of the proposed regulation has taken a significant amount of time, but TFTEA was explicit in requiring that the regulations for determining the calculation of amounts refunded as drawback be prescribed within two years of the date of enactment, or February 24, 2018. The Committee finds the lack of progress towards meeting this statutory requirement to be unacceptable, particularly because it undermines the one-year transition period for allowing drawback claims under both the new and old rule, which is set to expire on February 24, 2019. Therefore, the Committee directs DHS, Treasury, and OMB to take immediate steps to: (1) expedite the completion of the regulation; (2) provide the Committee and the Committee on Ways and Means with an anticipated completion timeline; and (3) provide updates to the Committee and the Committee on Ways and Means every 60 days on progress until the completion and release of the regulation.

INTERIOR – Language on gray wolf and grazing

·         Gray wolf

o   (Report Language) The Conferees recognize the Service's recent commitment to work closely with Federal, State, Tribal and local partners to assess the currently listed gray wolf entities in the Lower 48 States using the best available scientific information, and if appropriate, publish a proposal to revise the wolfs status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year.

·         Grazing

o   (Report Language) The Service is directed, to the greatest extent practicable, to make vacant grazing allotments available to a holder of a grazing permit or lease when lands covered by the holder of the permit or lease are unusable because of drought or wildfire.

·         Wildland Firefighting and Prevention

o   In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.9 billion, fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service.

*Please note: Congress previously passed “mini-bus” legislation that comprised the remaining appropriations bills for FY 2019.

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895, Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act.

H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019.