WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today voted in favor of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, the government funding bill, which includes measures he fought for this Congress to benefit Utah. The bill includes the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act, support for hospitals throughout the state, and funding for essential services like roads and law enforcement in Utah’s rural counties. Utah’s military programs at Hill Air Force Base and Dugway Proving Ground will also receive the funding they need to carry out their vital missions in support of the country’s national defense.
The package also funds programs authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—which Romney and his colleagues negotiated—including the Central Utah Project and funding for wildland fire management. The legislation funds the federal government through October 2023 and provides full funding for the recently passed defense bill, which will modernize our defense capabilities to protect against growing threats from China and Russia.
“$1.7 trillion is an enormous amount of money. It pays for our servicemen and women, our veterans, our social safety net programs—in fact, it pays for the work of the entire federal government,” Senator Romney said. “I wish the number were smaller, but I am convinced that if we were to reject this budget and kick the can down the road until next year, we would end up having to spend even more.
“The legislation passed today contains many important measures for Utah which I have been fighting for during the last several years,” Romney continued. “The Bonneville Shoreline Trail will finally be able to be completed, our state will have the resources to better manage wildland fires, and we will be able to provide funding for essential services like law enforcement and road maintenance in our state’s rural counties. Utah’s hospitals will be better supported—especially those in the rural parts of our state—and Utah’s military programs will receive the funding they need to support the country’s national defense. Importantly, this legislation funds the national defense bill we recently passed to protect our country against threats from China and Russia, modernize our defense capabilities, and support our troops.
“As with any government funding bill, it contains spending and programs I don’t like. The process for government funding must change in the next Congress, and allow for individual appropriations bills to be voted on in regular order, instead of being combined into large catch-all bills which force us to vote for the bad to get the good. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to change this process in order to ultimately rein in our deficit and reduce our debt. In the next Congress, I will continue fighting for the TRUST Act in order to get our spending under control. We cannot continue down this path,” Romney concluded.
Romney-Backed Provisions in the Government Funding Bill:
- $23 million for the Central Utah Project which provides water from the Colorado River for irrigation, municipal, recreational, and industrial use.
- Full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program, which Senator Romney cosponsored to provide long-term financial security for rural counties in Utah.
- $1.004 billion for wildland fire management, including $247 million for hazardous fuels reduction, which is an increase of $20 million.
- Inclusion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act to enable the construction of high priority sections of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) to enhance recreation opportunities near Utah’s most urban areas.
- Inclusion of the African-American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, which Senator Romney cosponsored with Senator Brown to establish a program at the National Park Service to provide grant opportunities and technical assistance to local partners to research, identify, survey, and preserve historic African American burial grounds across the country.
- Inclusion of the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins Recovery Act, which Senator Romney cosponsored with Senator Hickenlooper to protect four threatened and endangered native fish species in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basins by extending conservation programs for one year to allow Upper Basin communities the time to develop a long-term management plan.
- Postponement of PAYGO sequestration cuts to Medicare, which would have cut $80-$90 million from Utah hospitals, one of the largest in decades and may have closed some smaller facilities.
- Increases the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payments by 2.5% for services in FY2023, and by 1.25% in FY2024 to offset payment cuts, which will ensure that during a period of heightened medical supply chain inflation and salary increases, cuts to hospitals are limited.
- Extension of two Medicare programs which are vital for Utah’s ruralhospitals: the low-volume hospital payment adjustment, which was created in 2005 and has been reauthorized several times to help low-volume hospitals stay solvent, and the Medicare-Dependent Hospital program, which ensures reimbursement eligibility for rural hospitals.
- Inclusion of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, with Romney’s legislationto improve pandemic preparedness and response.
- Inclusion of Romney’s amendments to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act to prevent a future formula crisis and advance more options to lower drug prices by enacting generic drug labeling provisions and conducting a report on nonprofit pharmaceutical manufacturers.
- Exclusion of any dietary supplement provisions, which will support Utah’s dietary supplement industry—an industry vital to the state’s economy and health.
- Full funding for Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program.
- Increased funding for the Department of Justice’s State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and COPS programs, which provide critical support to police and sheriffs’ departments in Utah.
- Funding for major military programs in Utah, including Sentinel (Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program) and the F-35 Program.
- Support for the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) small modular nuclear reactor by eliminating the need to recompete for grants.
- $67 million for the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project, a Department of Energy (DOE) initiative for removing contaminated materials from decommissioned uranium mills, in order to improve groundwater and regional environmental conditions.
- Inclusion of the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, to reform and modernize the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
- Inclusion of legislation to develop a strategy for Black Sea region which has increasingly become a critical inflection point for European and global security amid Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. Based on Senators Romney and Shaheen’s Black Sea Security Act of 2022.
- $90 million for the Near-Earth Object Surveyor Mission Program at Utah State University.