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House passes federal spending bill
Turlock recycled water program to receive $4.1 million
waste water
The federal spending package includes $4.1 million for the North Valley Recycled Water Program, which entails the Cities of Turlock and Modesto providing treated recycled water to Del Puerto Water District agricultural customers.

The House voted to pass a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package on Tuesday, which includes $14 million in investments for Central Valley and regional water projects.

The spending legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give President Donald Trump steady funding for his U.S.-Mexico border fence. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that ends a months-long battle over spending priorities.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump will sign the measure.

“The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open,” said top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The legislation will fund the government through Sept. 30, 2020 — right before the election.

The legislation allocates $4.1 million for the North Valley Recycled Water Program, which entails the Cities of Turlock and Modesto providing treated recycled water to Del Puerto Water District agricultural customers. Water supplies have been impacted by drought and pumping restrictions in the area, making it difficult for farmers to access the water they need. The project provides as much as 30,600 acre-feet of water per year.

Other local projects that will be funded in the legislation include the Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir, Sites Reservoir and Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion. The package also includes funding for key programs that invest millions in water projects in California. These programs include funding for rural drinking water, flood control, WaterSMART projects and water recycling and reuse projects.

“These investments are a huge win for the Valley – and they show that when we fight for our water at the national level, we can get our fair share. In fact, more than 10 percent of the national funding for water projects is now coming right back to California and our district,” said Rep. Josh Harder. “We’re at a deficit of something like two million acre-feet per year in the Valley – together, these projects will provide enough storage capacity to cover that shortfall. Getting this across the finish line was my top priority for the final funding bill, and it’s the result of almost a year of work across the aisle and with members of the committee.”

Some of these projects were originally authorized in 2016, but this is the first time many were included in a full annual allocation of an appropriations bill. 

Other highlights of the legislation include:

·         An increase in the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 that also applies to e-cigarettes and vaping devices;

·         $25 million for gun violence research;

·         $425 million in election security grants;

·         3.1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees;

·         $22 billion increase in Pentagon funding;

·         Increased funding for early childhood education;

·         A seven-year extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance transactions benefiting U.S. exporters, as well as a renewal of the government's terrorism risk insurance program;

·         An extension of the government’s flood insurance program through September;

·         Extensions of several visa programs for both skilled and seasonal workers;

·         Repeal of the so-called Cadillac tax, a 40% tax on high-cost employer health plans; and

·         Extension of a longstanding freeze on lawmakers' pay.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.