Senator Murkowski applauds passing of year-end omnibus bill being signed into law

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski(Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 5:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski applauded a year-end omnibus bill being signed into law, which includes a 12-bill appropriations package to fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2021.

The bill includes Senator Murkowski’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The funding package also provides nearly $900 billion for COVID-19 relief; Senator Murkowski’s bipartisan, bicameral Energy Act of 2020; a bipartisan compromise to address the issue of Surprise Medical Billing; a major tax extenders package, and more. The bill passed the Senate with a 92-6 vote and now heads to the President’s desk.

“I am glad that Congress was able to put our differences aside and work together in a bipartisan manner to do what’s right for our nation. Together, we’ve crafted an omnibus bill which directs critical federal funding to where it is needed most. The 12-bill appropriations package invests in every sector of America. It will create economic opportunities for Alaskans, strengthen our national defense and military infrastructure, support Alaska’s fisheries, and invest in transportation,” said Senator Murkowski.

The bill includes several Alaska specific highlights, among them Rural Broadband and telephone infrastructure, including $35.5 million for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans and $97 million for distance learning, telemedicine and broadband grants.

The bill also includes payment in lieu of taxes, which provides full funding at $515 million for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The PILT program provides monetary compensation to local governments throughout Alaska that contain federal lands that are not subject to state or local taxation. The revenue helps local governments provide vital services.

“We secured a number of funding initiatives that will build on my work to increase America’s presence in the Arctic, as well as funding is included to improve healthcare for Alaskans. Full funding is also included for the PILT program which supports vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. Reaching this agreement took significant bipartisan compromise from members across the board, and I’m proud to have been a part of that good work. The President’s decision to sign this legislation without further delay, which includes critical COVID-19 relief, is welcome news,” said Senator Murkowski .

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