WEDNESDAY, JULY 5, 2006
FEMA AUTHORIZES FUNDING TO ASSIST WITH FIREFIGHTING EFFORTS IN NEVADA
On June 28, Governor Guinn (R-NV) announced that the Federal Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to combat several wildfires burning throughout Northern Nevada. The Governor issued a proclamation two days prior, declaring a state of emergency for the Statute as a result of wildland fire activity in Elko, Carson City, Mound House, and Washoe County. The declaration provided the ability to obtain early access to federal assistance, assistance from other states, and access to the state's Disaster Relief Fund.
The authorization from FEMA allows funding to assist up to 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting expenses. Eligible costs covered by the funding can include field camps, equipment use, repair, and replacement, tools, materials and supplies, and mobilization and demobilization activities.
HOUSE PASSES FY 2007 APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR SCIENCE-STATE-JUSTICE-COMMERCE
On June 29, the House passed the FY 2007 Science-State-Justice-Commerce (H.R. 5672) Appropriations Bill, by a vote of 393-23. The bill provides $59.8 billion in discretionary spending and $60.2 billion in total for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, and several independent agencies. This sum is approximately $2.6 billion more than appropriated in FY 2006 and close to $137 million more than President Bush had requested for FY 2007.
The most intense debate on the House floor centered on the Administration's effort to reduce or eliminate important grants for state and local law enforcement agencies. Members rejected the attempts and provided $22.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Nevada specific earmarks include funding for the Partnership Carson City Anti-Meth Coalition to eradicate methamphetamine use throughout the community. The funding is provided through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Methamphetamine Enforcement and Clean-Up Grants account. Congressman Gibbons (R-NV) requested the funding that will create five task forces within the Anti-Meth Coalition: Law Enforcement ; Community Awareness ; Education/Prevention; Public Policy; and Treatment and Rehabilitation. Funding for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges was also secured.
For more information on the Science-State-Justice Commerce appropriations bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov
For more information on the Anti-Meth Coalition and Nevada specific funding, please visit: http://wwwc.house.gov/gibbons/display-pr.asp?id=1871
SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES HOMELAND SECURITY SPENDING BILL
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2007 Homeland Security spending bill on Thursday, June 29, two days after the subcommittee approved the bill. The committee approved $32.8 billion, $31.7 billion of which would be discretionary funds. This version, however, contains $350 million less than the House version (passed on June 6, 2007). Anticipating several amendments, floor debate is expected as early as Monday, July 10, 2006. Some highlights include:
•$745 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants (FY 2006 level was $765 million);
•$210 million for port security grants (FY 2006 level was $175 million);
•$150 million for rail and transit security grants (same as FY 2006 level);
•$655 million for firefighter assistance grants, of which •$115 million is directed to the SAFER Act grants (same as FY 2006 level);
•$205 million for emergency management performance grants (FY 2006 level was $185 million);
•$150 million for the National Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund (FY 2006 level was $50 million); and
•$1.6 billion for Disaster Relief (FY 2006 level was $1.7 billion).
The committee adopted a manager's amendment that includes a provision to delay (until June 1, 2009) implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which would require travelers to the United States from Canada, Mexico, and other nearby regions to have biometric travel cards.
COMMITTEE APPROVES ENERGY AND WATER SPENDING BILL
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the FY 2007 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. The measure sets total spending at $30.7 billion, which is slightly higher than the House-approved mark of $30 billion and $1.25 billion more than the Administration's budget request. The bill provides $24.7 billion for the Department of Energy, $5.13 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $1.06 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation, and $306.3 million for independent agencies.Highlights of specific funding levels include: $5.47 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup; $310 million for non-defense environmental management; $494 million for nuclear waste disposal at the Yucca Mountain site; $2.29 billion for Energy Supply and Conservation activities, including $370.7 million for energy initiatives authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005; $49.5 million for the State Energy Program; $711 million for nuclear energy programs; and $644 million for fossil energy programs.
The bill also provides $10 million in startup funds for an interim nuclear waste storage program. The program authorizes the Department of Energy to work with states to find sites, either in individual states or in multi-state regions, where utilities can store spent nuclear fuel for up to 25 years. Currently, there is no estimated total cost for this program, but Senate appropriators intend to fund it through the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund.
Nevada projects include more than $97 million to preserve Lake Tahoe and Walker Lake; $88 million for the Desert Terminus Lake project for environmental efforts at Walker Lake, and $9.4 million for four ongoing projects to restore and preserve Lake Tahoe secured by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).
HOUSE PASSES VETERANS COMPENSATION OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2006
Last week, the House unanimously approved legislation, sponsored by Jeff Miller (R-FL) and coauthored by Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) that increases benefit payments to veterans and their survivors through a cost of living adjustment, or COLA. The COLA bill would provide the same increase in benefits to service-disabled veterans and their survivors as is awarded to Social Security beneficiaries.
The legislation helps service-disabled veterans and survivors maintain the purchasing power of their federal benefits through an increase in benefits tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Congresswoman Berkley is a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
For further information, please refer to Congresswoman Berkley's June 26 press release: http://berkley.house.gov/legis/otr/
LEGISLATION INCLUDES FUNDING FOR VETERAN'S HOSPITAL
As part of the Veterans Affairs Authorization bills currently being crafted in the Senate, Senators Reid and Ensign announced $406 million for the veteran's hospital and medical center in Las Vegas. The funding will be for the facility; a 90-bed full-service hospital and 120--bed VA nursing home that will be built at Pecos and the 215th Beltway in North Las Vegas. Completion of the facility is set for 2009 or 2010.
For further information, please refer to Senator Ensign's June 22 press release: http://ensign.senate.gov/
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES FEDERAL EDUCATION GRANT GUIDELINES
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings clarified the eligibility of requirements for the Academic (AC) Grants and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants and completed the process for reorganizing state plans. As a result, a qualified Pell Grant-eligible students can begin applying for new grants worth between $750 and $4,000. The grants are designed as incentives for students to take more challenging courses in high school and pursue degrees in high-demand areas such as science, math, technology, engineering, and critical foreign languages.
Congress adjourned last Friday for
the July 4th recess. They will convene on Monday, July 10.
Recent and archived Federal Grants Notifications are also available on our website. www.NevadaDC.org
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