House Approves 12-Part Appropriations Package, Includes Alaska Efforts and Priorities Championed by Congressman Young
Washington, D.C., September 14, 2017 | Matt Shuckerow
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives successfully approved H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, a 12-part appropriations package that outlines the nation’s spending priorities for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill, which included the consideration of hundreds of amendments, represents movement towards returning to regular order and completing consideration of annual appropriations legislation before the beginning of the new fiscal year.
“For years, our nation’s fiscal and economic policies have moved us further and further away from the path to prosperity and closer to financial ruin,” said Congressman Don Young. “With numerous patch-work deals and last minute spending agreements, we have made little progress in dealing with our staggering level of debt. This package – a complete appropriations package that takes a serious look at our nation’s spending while reining in often wasteful or overgrown government programs, represents only a small step in better serving the American people. Although there can always be improvements, I commend the House for working with me to include a number of Alaska-focused priorities and initiatives, including those that support our many strategically located military missions, prevent the implementation of economy-killing rules and regulations, create certainty for new economic development, and eliminate needless and harmful bureaucracy. As the Senate considers its own annual appropriations bill, I call on them to put forward a plan and policies that can continue the House’s efforts to reform our nation’s spending."
Included in the package were a number of Alaska-focused priorities championed and supported by Congressman Don Young:
Congressman Young successfully offered an amendment to strike-down an Obama-era rule by the National Park Service that seized fish and wildlife management authority away from the State of Alaska on national preserve lands within the State – a violation of both the Alaska Statehood Compact and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Young’s amendment, which was accepted 215 to 196, would prohibit funds from the Act from being used to enforce the October 23, 2015 final rule issued by the National Park Service.
“Overturning this unlawful taking by the Obama administration continues to be an issue of great importance to me and the people of Alaska,” said Congressman Don Young. “Many, including some of the nation’s most extreme interest groups, continue to make false claims and accusations about what we’re trying to achieve here – but that doesn’t deter us. The facts are clear, federal law grants the State of Alaska – with very limited exception – the authority to manage fish and wildlife upon all lands within our state. My amendment is a unified effort by our delegation and the State of Alaska to overturn an illegal rulemaking by the National Park Service and restore Alaska’s management authority as it was intended to be.
Young successfully offered an amendment to provide relief to placer miners in the 40 Mile Mining District, who currently face insurmountable new hurdles from a change in existing mining management plans by the Bureau of Land Management as they pertain to mitigation and re-vegetation.
“Alaska is one of the very few places left in the United States where placer mining is still being conducted, however, under the previous administration these small mom and pop family miners were targeted with unobtainable regulations under the falsehood of protecting the environment,” said Congressman Don Young. “My amendment secures their way of life and makes sure the people of Alaska’s historic mining communities such as Chicken, Eagle, and Boundary are protected from the heavy thumb of Washington, DC’s over regulation.”
Congressman Young co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment offered by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) to restore federal funds (from $3 million to $10 million) for the MARAD Small Shipyard Grant Program – a program established in 2009 to provide grant assistance to small shipyards to make capital improvements in or near maritime communities.
“With more than 44,000 miles of coastline in Alaska, our communities are ever reliant on a robust maritime infrastructure,” said Congressman Don Young. “This amendment – championed with bipartisan support – restored critical funds currently being used in Alaska and across the country to expand our nation’s maritime fleet. As a former tug boat captain and advocate for the work being done at the Alaska Shipyard and Drydock – a recent recipient of a MARAD grant – I was proud to help lead this fight."
For additional information on Congressman Young’s efforts within the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills, click here.