WASHINGTON — A massive bill to fund the federal government has passed through Congress, and it included a number of investments for the north country.
The Senate on Thursday night passed the $1.5 trillion omnibus bill to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2022, after the House passed the measure Wednesday. Both chambers passed it by voice vote, which does not record individual members votes.
President Joseph R. Biden signed the legislation into law on Saturday, according to the White House.
The bill includes $3 million in funding for repairs at the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, plus $27 million to strengthen and clean up Fort Drum’s water supply.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer lauded those projects on Wednesday, saying the Fort Drum project will ensure clean water for an important military base and the Ogdensburg Bridge project will bring much-needed repairs to the aging crossing.
There was a $50,000 inclusion to fund a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to remove sediment from the Salmon River, to reduce ice jam flooding in Malone, as well as $20 million for the Lake Champlain Basin Program, which strives to maintain water quality in the lake.
The legislation also includes $35 million in funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission, a group of Congresspeople from across the U.S.-Canadian border region who advocate for issues related to the border and U.S.-Canadian relations.
Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, is the Republican co-chair of that organization, while Congressman Brian M. Higgins, D-Buffalo, is the Democratic co-chair.
In a statement, Congresswoman Stefanik said she was proud to vote in favor of the legislation, and is proud of the work she and her office did to include the various north country projects in the omnibus bill.
“I am proud to return millions in taxpayer dollars to our district through this year’s appropriations process,” she said.
However, the appropriations process warranted criticism as well, she said.
“While I am proud to have worked to include several wins for upstate New York and the north country in this year’s appropriations package, Speaker (Nancy P.) Pelosi’s bill — drafted in the dead of night and behind closed doors — contains far-left, partisan provisions I could not support and fails to address the ongoing energy crisis and would fail to halt historic, skyrocketing inflation.”