Thornberry votes in favor of $1.1 trillion omnibus

Alex Mann
Managing Editor

Congressman Mac Thornberry's office has confirmed that the Texas Panhandle's representative in Washington recently voted in favor of a $1.1 trillion budgetary bill that funds the United States government through the Fall of 2016. Despite the bipartisan house vote of 316 in favor of the measure, Representatives will likely face questions from constituencies on a number of key provisions within the budget.

The budget, for example, makes no reduction in federal dollars allocated to Planned Parenthood, a hot topic among many Republican voters. However according to Thornberry's office, the discretionary budget was unable to affect Planned Parenthood because it is labeled as non-discretionary spending. In addition, the budget makes no change in the H1B guest worker program which will facilitate a continued influx of foreign nationals arriving to work on visas. Finally, no reduction in funding was made for administrative costs associated with arriving Syrian refugees, though Thornberry's office did note the Representative supported a separate measure which bolsters the “vetting” process for refugees by including the FBI in the approval process.

Meanwhile the budget also includes a number of key provisions which may have a drastic impact on the Texas Panhandle. “There are a number of good and important provisions for the country and for our area in these bills,” Thornberry says of the budget and other legislation, “While there are also a number of provisions that I support – and have voted for – that did not survive negotiations, many did.” A key victory for Republicans was the lifting of the crude oil export ban, which will allow local oil to be sold overseas for the first time in decades. The move is expected to have a significant impact not only on Hutchinson County, but the region as a whole, which has been suffering the economic consequences of $35 per barrel crude prices. Additionally, a budget increase in military funding earmarks over two billion federal dollars for several Amarillo industries, including Pantex and Bell Helicopter, and the repeal of country of origin labeling is expected to have a positive impact on the beef and cattle industry. Finally, the budget extends the wind energy production tax credit, while including language to eventually phase it out.

Readers can find a link to the full 2000 page bill online at the The office of Mac Thornberry welcomes comments and feedback, and can be reached at (806) 377-8844.