Tipton Votes to Fund National Defense, Calls Out Senate for Stripping Critical Anvil Points Provision
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted in favor of H.R. 5515, the House-Senate Conference Report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The passage of this final bill will strengthen military readiness, provide U.S. troops with a pay raise and advance innovative technologies that give the United States military an edge. The House agreed to the report with a bipartisan vote of 359-54.
“In the increasingly dangerous world in which we live, one of the most important roles of Congress is to fund the military,” said Tipton. “This final defense bill will ensure the U.S. troops have the necessary training and equipment to respond to threats at home and abroad.”
The final 2019 NDAA will allow for $716 billion in defense spending, which would go towards rebuilding all branches of the military. The investments in this bill will help replace worn out equipment, restore military aircrafts and ships, improve military infrastructure and make critical investments in missile defense. The 2019 NDAA will also take care of military families by providing the biggest pay raise for U.S. troops in nine years.
Not included in the final version of the NDAA was a provision that Tipton added to the House-passed version of the bill, a bipartisan provision that passed without objection in the House. The provision would have ensured that four counties in Colorado’s Third District are not punished in their annual PILT payments for successfully recovering the Anvil Points royalty funds that were owed to them by the federal government for over a decade.
“Earlier this year, four counties in my district successfully recovered federal mineral leasing payments that had long-been owed to them. Unfortunately, current law mandates that the payments be factored into each county’s fiscal year 2019 payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) calculation if the county has not established a Federal Mineral Leasing District,” said Tipton. “The provision I added to the House-passed NDAA would have provided a one-time exemption for these payments from PILT calculations. I am incredibly disappointed that Democrat leaders in the Senate chose to strip this provision in the final conference report. Instead of taking the time to research and understand the issue, they chose to punish our counties for a problem that was created by the federal government. I will continue to work to advance the exemption provision between now and the end of the year.”
The Anvil Points Fund at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was established in the 1977 NDAA and used oil and gas lease revenue to reimburse the federal government for expenses invested in and for cleanup of the Anvil Points federal research site near Rifle, Colorado. These funds were mostly provided by Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat and Mesa Counties. The revenue from this fund provided more than enough to complete the cleanup project, but the excess funds were held by BLM.
In March of 2018, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it was finally distributing nearly $18 million to four Colorado counties. Under current law, the March payment would offset the amount owed to the four counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in 2019.
Section 32014 in the House-version of the FY19 NDAA would have ensured that these counties are not punished for successfully recouping funds owed to them by the federal government.
After the passage of the House-version of the FY NDAA, Tipton, along with Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, wrote a letter to the conferees, urging the inclusion of Section 32014 in the final conference report. See the full letter here.
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