Rep. Ellison Secures Funding for Minnesota Families in Fiscal Year 2018 Spending Bill
Bill includes Ellison-led priorities on affordable housing, public transit, veterans’ healthcare
WASHINGTON—Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) today announced the inclusion of multiple priorities, including funding for affordable housing, public transit, veterans’ healthcare, and international disaster relief in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill.
"I'm glad that this year's appropriations bill includes funding for numerous priorities important to families in the Minnesota’s Fifth District,” said Rep. Ellison. “But I’ve been clear that I would not support any appropriations bill that does not include a solution for 700,000 DREAMERS. I am also disappointed this bill continues to fund President Trump’s mass deportation force and includes the CLOUD Act, a bill that jeopardizes Americans’ personal information.”
The House-passed appropriations bill includes Ellison led and co-led provisions to:
Increase Access to Affordable Housing: The bill includes a 4-year, 12.5% increase in the low-income housing tax credit, the largest federal funding source for new affordable housing units. The bill also includes additional funding for rental assistance, housing for seniors and Americans with disabilities, and necessary improvements to aging public housing units. Rep. Ellison has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to increase funding for these affordable housing sources and has also asked appropriators to increase funding for these programs.
Prevent Veterans’ Suicide: The bill includes language requiring the Veterans Crisis Line, a toll-free suicide hotline for veterans, to be adequately staffed to immediately respond to those in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rep. Ellison co-led the request to appropriators for this critical bipartisan language.
Fund Critical Transit Projects: The bill increases funds for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, which provides grants to fund critical transit projects. These grants could be directed toward the METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest Light Rail) and the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Light Rail). Rep. Ellison led a letter asking appropriators to fund the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program (CIG).
Protect Workers’ Tips: The Omnibus includes language that ensures supervisors and managers cannot pocket their workers tips. Rep. Ellison led the fight against a harmful rule by the Trump Administration which would have allowed tips to be legally controlled, and pocketed, by employers. This rule would have permitted employers to pocket $5.8 billion of their workers hard-earned tips.
Help Families Recover from Disaster: The omnibus increases funds for International Disaster Assistance, Migration and Refugee assistance, and Food for Peace. This money will fund State and USAID humanitarian efforts to help communities recover from disasters, fight famine, and assist refugees and internally displaced persons around the world. Rep. Ellison led a letter with 15 of his colleagues asking appropriators to include this critical funding for families recovering from disasters in the spending bill.
Ensure an Accurate Census: The bill gives the Census Bureau $2.8 billion dollars, which is $1.3 billion more than the funding provided in 2017. This funding is critical to getting the 2020 Census planning and implementation back on schedule and to ensuring that the 2020 count is accurate. The Census is a constitutionally mandated review of our communities which informs the number of seats each District gets in the U.S. House, helps local governments plan for disasters, and determines federal funding allocations for critical programs for Minnesota families. Rep. Ellison co-lead a letter to House appropriators asking for this increased funding.
Eliminate the National Defense Restoration Fund: The omnibus rejected a proposal that would have given the President Trump’s Defense Department a $28.6 billion blank check, with limited Congressional oversight. Rep. Ellison led the bipartisan fight against this provision by offering an amendment to the defense appropriations bill the House considered in September.