Huffman Advances North Coast, Environmental Wins in First Round of Appropriations

July 24, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the H.R. 7608, the first “minibus” of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, which included significant victories for California’s second district championed by Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael). H.R. 7608 totals $259.5 billion in discretionary funding and consists of four FY 2021 funding bills: State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

“The appropriations process is one of the most consequential aspects of our work in Congress, allocating funding that supports priorities for my constituents on the North Coast and for Americans across the country,” said Rep. Huffman. “I am glad to support today’s funding bill, which includes many of our hard-fought priorities like remediating trespass marijuana grows, protecting treasured lands and habitat from oil exploration, and establishing the U.S. as a leader in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.” 

“Representative Huffman has made a critical mark on our appropriations bills with provisions that will both support northern Californian priorities and advance environmental protection across our nation. I am proud to work with a tireless advocate like Jared on these critical issues for Californians and all Americans,” said Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey.

Rep. Huffman successfully led the charge to allocate funding for multiple priorities for northwest California and environmental protections that were included in the legislation:

  • Successes for California’s Second District:
    • Extends marina fee retention authority for the Shasta Trinity National Forest, which allows the Forest Service to retain fees from marina uses and special permits in the National Recreation Area and reinvest these funds in recreation and public safety improvements. This was one of Rep. Huffman’s top priority requests to support the outdoor recreation economy in Trinity County; the Shasta-Trinity Recreation Area is visited by over 2 million people each year and this authority has provided $500,000 to $800,000 annually in recent years.
    • Includes report language identifying the issue of illegal marijuana trespass grows on public lands in California and supporting the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in their efforts to detect and eradicate grow sites. 
    • Provides $15 million in funding for the EPA’s work in the San Francisco Bay, which includes habitat restoration, wetlands recovery, climate change resiliency and wildlife protection projects throughout the Bay and Delta
    • The Agriculture appropriations report supports research into the impacts of smoke taint on wine grapes, a priority request that Rep. Huffman joined with Wine Caucus co-chair Rep. Mike Thompson in making to assist North Bay wineries as they continue to work to recover from wildfire impacts.
  • Environmental Successes:
    • The House adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Huffman to block any oil or gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The amendment was supported by a wide range of environmental and conservation groups, including Alaska Wilderness League Action, Defenders of Wildlife, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.
    • The bill blocks funding for new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest, one of the largest remaining old growth forests. The amendment protects critical salmon habitat and carbon sequestration, as well as saving taxpayers money from subsidized, money-losing timber sales. 
    • The bill blocks new offshore drilling leases and seismic testing, which is used in oil and gas exploration and harms marine wildlife. Rep. Huffman has championed these priorities for years to protect the California coast and coastal communities across the country. 
    • The bill provides $500 million in funding for international assistance to developing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, challenging the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine international climate change efforts. 
    • The bill includes $78 million (a 16% increase) for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, a much-needed boost in funding to conserve at-risk fish and wildlife. 

Below are a number of other notable wins for American communities in H.R. 7608:

  • Coronavirus
    • Gives FDA legal authority to require the recall of unsafe prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
    • Restores funding for the World Health Organization, a vital U.S. partner in the fight against COVID-19, which President Trump has threatened to cut off, and blocks his ongoing efforts to withdraw from the organization.
  • Food Security
    • Provides full funding for SNAP ($68.277 billion), child nutrition programs ($25.131 billion), and WIC ($5.75 billion).
    • Blocks two unconscionable SNAP rules by the Trump administration designed to restrict program eligibility.
  • Infrastructure
    • $15.17 billion in water infrastructure and other infrastructure programs, including $12.97 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and $546 million to get lead out of drinking water.
    • $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans, and more than $610 million in water and waste grants for clean and reliable drinking water systems and sanitary waste disposal systems.
    • $990 million for the Rural Broadband Re-Connect Program, $435 million above fiscal year 2020.
  • Environment and Combatting Climate Change
    • $13.83 billion for the Department of the Interior (separate from the Land and Water Conservation Fund), $304 million above fiscal year 2020.
    • $9.38 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, $318 million above fiscal year 2020.
    • $521.6 million for EPA’s Clean Air programs and research, $37.9 million above fiscal year 2020.
  • Veterans and Military Families
    • Provides $12.5 billion in emergency appropriations for VA to address sharply rising health care costs.
    • Veterans Medical Care – $90.0 billion, $9.8 billion above fiscal year 2020:
      • Mental Health Care – $10.3 billion
      • Homeless Assistance Programs – $1.9 billion
      • Gender-Specific Care for Women – $661 million
    • Military Construction Projects – $10.4 billion, with language ensuring these funds cannot be stolen for Trump’s wasteful border wall.
    • Military Family Housing – $1.49 billion, $22 million above fiscal year 2020.
  • Tribes
    • $6.5 billion for the Indian Health Service, $445 million above FY20 and $199 million above Trump’s request
      • $3.5 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Special Trustee, an increase of $188 million above FY20 and $562 million above Trump’s request
      • $4.36 billion for EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grants, $119 million above FY20 and $1.52 billion above Trump’s request
    • Report language noting agency failures to conduct meaningful government-to-government consultation and directing agencies to publish detailed decision rationale in the context of Tribal input during consultation.

Additional materials on the legislation can be found here: