House Approves Welch Amendments funding Dairy, Burn Pit Outreach, Maple Syrup, and Northern Border Programs
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives has approved two appropriations bills that include four initiatives championed by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). The bills, H.R. 2740 and H.R. 3055, fund the operations of various federal agencies for fiscal year 2020.
The following approved Welch amendments boost funding for programs supporting the dairy and maple industries, assist veterans suffering from exposure to military burn pits, and promote economic development in communities along the U.S.-Canadian border:
- Appropriated $10 million for new regional dairy innovation centers authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. The centers will spur innovation, modernization and entrepreneurship in the dairy industry. Vermont has applied for a regional center.
- Increased funding from $4 million to $5 million for USDA’s Acer Access and Development maple program which awards federal grants to support maple industry marketing, research and education.
- Increases funding to encourage affected veterans to enroll in the federal burn pits registry, and encourages collaboration between states and the VA on outreach and enrollment efforts.
- Increased funding from $22 million to $25 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). The NBRC awards federal grants to qualified projects to spur economic development in rural areas along the U.S.-Canadian border. Projects in all 14 Vermont counties are eligible to apply for grants. Rep. Welch and Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.) were co-authors of the amendment. Welch is also the co-author of a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that created the NBRC.