Congress Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

It’s been a big week for Alaska in Congress. Lawmakers removed the Alaska exemption in the Violence Against Women Act, a significant gain for advocates of tribal authority.

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And this weekend, congress passed a $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government through next fall.

Among its Alaska items are $50 million for the missile defense system housed at Fort Greely and $3 million for the Kodiak spaceport. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she pleased the bill properly reimburses tribal health care providers for contract supports costs. It also has $10 million for sanitation in rural Alaska and another $10 million for the Denali Commission. It does not buy any new icebreakers, but it has $25 million for sonar mapping of the U.S. coastline, with emphasis on the Bering Straits and the Arctic.

The bill, though, zeroes out the Secure Rural Schools program. It paid $12 million last year to Alaska school districts, primarily in Southeast.

The Senate avoided a government shutdown by passing the bill late Saturday.