Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded Senate passage of the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill that includes a host of national priorities Feinstein has championed.
“I’m pleased the Senate came together today to pass a federal funding bill that is balanced, responsible and invests in key projects across the country,” Feinstein said.
“The bill includes funding for numerous projects that will benefit California, in particular those related to wildfire, drought, homelessness prevention, health care and education. The bill also includes critical policy reforms, spending on key global initiatives and other language to improve the lives of Americans.”
War in Ukraine
The bill approved by the Senate includes $4 billion to respond to the devastating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to include food, shelter and other basic necessities for millions of Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homeland.
The bill also includes $3.5 billion to replace military equipment that was transferred to Ukraine and $3.1 billion to fund U.S. military deployments, operational expenses and intelligence costs in Europe.
“The war in Ukraine is a tragedy. It is a Russian war of aggression that benefits no one, but it does require a strong response from the United States. I’m proud that the bill we passed will help provide the tools for Ukraine to defend itself," Feinstein said.
“The bill approved by the Senate includes $4 billion in humanitarian aid to help people fleeing Ukraine as well as those who have been internally displaced. More than 2 million people have already fled the country and millions more have been forced to flee their homes. I’m glad that Congress is stepping in to help these people whose lives have been shattered.”
Violence Against Women Act
The omnibus funding bill includes the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act, authored by Senators Feinstein, Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
The bill, which would reauthorize VAWA through 2027, preserves advancements made in previous reauthorizations and includes a number of additional improvements to the current law. The bill builds on and improves existing grant programs; strengthens existing Justice Department programs to prevent sexual violence and support survivors; improves the medical response for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors; and helps protect survivors in high-risk communities including Indian women and LGBT individuals.
“I’m grateful our bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act is included in the omnibus government funding bill,” Feinstein said.
“This is a major advancement for protecting women from domestic violence and sexual assault – a tragedy faced by one in three women in this country. Passing this legislation to prevent domestic violence and support survivors is long overdue and I’m pleased the House and Senate are sending it to the president’s desk.”
Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee
Senator Feinstein, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, drafted the section of the bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Energy and more.
- $8.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain inland waterways and ports; help manage water supply; provide emission-free electricity from dams; restore aquatic ecosystems; monitor recreational lands and waters; reduce flooding; and provide emergency response to natural disasters.
- $1.9 billion for the Department of Interior, which includes the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency responsible for long-term drought strategies such as water storage, recycling and reuse as well as desalination. These project are critical for California’s ongoing battle against severe drought.
- $45 billion for Energy Department projects ranging from research into renewable energy and carbon managements; improving cybersecurity capacity to secure the U.S. energy grid; expanding nuclear nonproliferation efforts; and providing support to expand the grid to underserved communities.
“I’m pleased that the omnibus federal spending bill the Senate passed includes significant investments to modernize our water infrastructure and boost funding for clean energy,” Feinstein said.
“The bill includes more than $10 billion for the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation to complete water infrastructure projects, many of which will help California better respond to severe drought. The bill also includes $45 billion for Energy Department programs to fight climate change, expand renewable energy programs, conduct research at national laboratories and universities, improve cybersecurity capabilities and continue nuclear nonproliferation efforts.”
The budget for the IRS has declined by 19 percent since 2010, creating backlogs in tax returns, steep declines in services for taxpayers and increasing amounts of unpaid taxes. Today’s bill includes a 6 percent increase in funding for the IRS so the agency can provide better service to taxpayers, process refunds faster and collect billions of dollars in taxes that go unpaid.
Senator Feinstein on several occasions called on President Biden and congressional leadership to provide a substantial boost in IRS funding to help the agency rebuild its effectiveness. In January, Senator Feinstein called on President Biden and leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include emergency funding for the IRS in federal spending bills.
“After years of funding cuts, the Covid-19 pandemic exposed severe understaffing problems at the IRS. This happened at a time when millions of Americans were relying on the agency to process stimulus payments, administer the expanded child tax credit and implement new tax credits,” Feinstein said.
“This new funding will help rectify the problem. It will allow the IRS to reduce its backlog and ensure that more taxpayers can reach a customer service agent as they prepare their returns. It will also help the agency recover some of the hundreds of billions of dollars per year in taxes owed that the IRS estimates go uncollected every year.”
Regulating synthetic nicotine
The bill includes a provision granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate synthetic nicotine, an issue Senator Feinstein has worked on as part of her efforts to strengthen regulations over tobacco products and combat the dangerous youth vaping crisis. The FDA previously lacked authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products such as oral nicotine pouches and flavored e-cigarettes because synthetic nicotine falls outside the agency’s statutory definition of “tobacco product.”
“Addictive, dangerous nicotine products can’t go unregulated because of a loophole in law, and this provision will fix that,” Feinstein said.
“Most importantly, this fix will help protect children from highly addictive products like flavored e-cigarettes that contain synthetic nicotine by putting in place rigorous FDA oversight of all synthetic nicotine products.”