COVID Relief and Spending Package Includes Several Valley Priorities
Sunday night, President Trump signed $1.4 trillion spending bill in tandem with a $908 billion COVID-relief bill. The spending bill was a bipartisan bill.
Rep. TJ Cox was quick to point out that he “has fought for direct COVID-19 relief to working families as small businesses and key funding priorities that benefit the Central Valley.”
Some of Cox’s priorities and projects were included in these two bills. This has been tabbed as an “omnibus” spending bill. Omnibus means that the whole consists of many smaller parts: Actually 12 bills compressed into one. It includes “all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriation bills, coronavirus relief, and authorizations to invest in safe and stable communities with robust funding for local preparedness grants and research into our nation’s gun violence epidemic, expand access for rural communities through investments in broadband, and provide strong funding to protect the environment and combat climate change.”
“This year’s ‘omnibus’ will help agricultural producers, fix our water supply, protect veterans, revive small businesses, and help our frontline heroes persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cox.
The bill includes several facets which will specifically address needs of the San Joaquin Valley residents as well as many others.
- $500,000 to benefit agricultural research, specifically the research being done at the Parlier Agricultural Research Station, that can help ensure that the Central Valley has the best technology available to combat pests and diseases that threaten specialty crop producers.
- $134 million for water storage in the Central Valley
- $206 million for Friant-Kern Canal Capacity Correction, fulfilling the funding proposed in the Move Water Now Act introduced by Rep. Cox.
- $13.7 million for the Sites Reservoir Project
- $11.9 million for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project
- $3 million for the Delta Mendota Canal Subsidence Correction
- $1.7 million for the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion
- $1.5 million for the Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir Project
- Language from the AHEAD Act that encourages the use of health equity and impact assessments to take into account social determinants of health, including education, safe environments, housing, transportation, economic development, and access to nutritious foods when researching the impact of future legislation and government programs.
- A provision advocated for by Rep. Cox earlier this year, directing the Veterans Administration to ensure that veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries can access high quality long-term care.
- A report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on the mission, strategic plan, and administrative requirements of the SBA Office of Rural Affairs. This report will help small businesses access administrative assistance and other congressional programs they’ll need to survive the current economic crisis.
- $730 million was included for the expansion of broadband service, including
- $635 million for the USDA’s ReConnect program, and
- $33 million provided for the FCC to improve its broadband maps as required by the Broadband DATA Act.