Congressman Vargas Highlights Imperial County Priorities Funded in Omnibus

Washington, DC - Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) voted in favor of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion government spending bill which was approved by the House of Representatives yesterday.   Vargas was pleased with the House’s ability to work together to fund essential programs in his district including numerous items of direct significance to Imperial County residents.

“I was delighted to see funding for key programs that protect our children, women and seniors,” stated Vargas.  “WIC will now be able to meet the anticipated needs of expectant mothers and infants, school lunches will be available for students in need, and Senior Nutrition programs will see a full restoration of meals.  I was proud to fight to eliminate Head Start cuts and to invest in Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, making early education accessible to the residents of my district.”

In addition, the bill directly benefits Imperial County residents by grandfathering in the USDA rural definition. This will keep the cities of Imperial and Brawley eligible for low-to-moderate income housing for individuals and families, including rental housing, low cost home-ownership loans, home repair programs for seniors, and agricultural housing.  The bill also increases funding for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program and Section 8 which will ensure that families continue to have heat and housing.

“Yesterday’s  omnibus appropriations bill was a much-needed step towards funding our government in a responsible and bipartisan manner,” stated Vargas.  “This bill includes essential investments that put our nation back on the path of job creation, innovation, education, and social justice.”

The bill also funds the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, which will receive $98,800 to quantify current emissions at the Calexico-Mexicali land port of entry and identify emission reduction strategies; and the Army Corps of Engineers will see increased funding including $300,000 for Salton Sea research.

The overall well-being of our military personnel and veterans was addressed by provisions to end sexual assault and support victims, and repeal last year’s cut to cost-of-living-adjustments for disabled military retirees and survivors.  New tools and resources were included to eliminate the backlog of veterans’ disability claims.

“While this bill fell short on the issue of restoring unemployment benefits and funding biomedical research, I acknowledge that it is the result of tireless dedication and delicate compromises,” stated Vargas.  “This bill is a true bipartisan effort and I hope that future budget proceedings in Congress preserve the same spirit of cooperation.  I supported this omnibus and look forward to working in the coming year to address its shortcomings."

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