Rep. Peter Welch visits NorthWest Family Foods, 2017

Rep. Peter Welch speaks during a 2017 visit to NorthWest Family Foods in St. Albans.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation championed by Rep. Peter Welch, D – Vt., was included as a part of a pair of larger appropriations bills passed by the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, according to a release issued by Welch’s office.

The House’s approval of two new spending bills comes as funding for federal government operations is expected to expire Friday at midnight.

A domestic spending bill – H.R. 1158 – passed by the House Tuesday included several pieces of legislation Welch’s office presented as “key Vermont priorities” advocated for by Welch during the appropriations process, including:

  • The reauthorization of Brand USA, a program supporting international tourism in Vermont and in other states;
  • Passage of the CREATES Act for stymieing practices used by larger drug companies to slow the federal approval of competing, more affordable generic alternatives;
  • A $5 million increase in the allocation set aside for the Northern Borders Regional Commission, a federal program supporting development projects in New England’s border states;
  • Increased funding for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, a federal program for assisting families with energy costs;
  • Increased funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Grants, a federal grant program that replaced the TIGER Grants used to improve local and regional infrastructure projects;
  • Increased funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;
  • A $57 million increase in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund;
  • A $2.6 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health’s research on disease cures and treatments;
  • $640 million allocated for broadband deployment;
  • $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants; and
  • A mandate for the Dept. of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy for combatting tick-borne diseases and authorization for an accompanying grant program.

According to Welch’s office, the Senate expects to pass both bills ahead of the Friday night deadline.

According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump expects to sign those spending measures into law.

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