December 20, 2019

Duckworth Votes for Bipartisan Agreement to Fund the Government


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) voted for the two Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations packages, which will fund the government through September 30, 2020. The bills passed the U.S. Senate with a bipartisan majority and now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.

I’m glad both parties came together to pass this bipartisan budget agreement that includes a number of important provisions, such as securing miners’ earned health care and pension benefits, defending the Great Lakes from invasive species and permanently repealing both the medical device tax and the Cadillac tax,” Duckworth said. “Hard-working families in Illinois and across our nation will benefit from this funding package, and I look forward to the President signing it into law.”

Key provisions included in the Appropriations packages will:

  • Protect miners’ pensions and health care coverage for retirees impacted by 2018 and 2019 mine bankruptcies;
  • Help defend the Great Lakes from invasive species;
  • Permanently repeal the medical device tax and the Cadillac tax; and
  • Fund four additional C-130J aircrafts for the National Guard and eight F-15EX fighters.

The Bipartisan American Miners Act, included in the final funding package, secures lifetime health care benefits for the 13,000 miners who would have lost their benefits entirely and the 92,000 miners who would have seen their pensions gutted next year without Congressional action. This includes pension benefits for more than 8,000 miners and health coverage for more than 1,000 miners in Illinois.

Duckworth discussed the invasive species issue with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District Commander Colonel Steven Sattinger in October of this year. She also successfully secured a provision in the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act that will provide $2.5 million for five years in assistance for agencies across the federal government that have strategies to prevent invasive species from doing irreparable harm to our environment and economy.

In March of this year, Duckworth joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) in reintroducing a bill to permanently repeal the 2.3 percent federal excise tax on medical device sales. Duckworth also cosponsored the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019, which would repeal a 40 percent excise tax on certain employer-sponsored health insurance plans known as the “Cadillac Tax.”

Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Duckworth was able to secure provisions in FY2020 NDAA to support jobs at Rock Island Arsenal, protect noncitizen servicemembers and Veterans from deportation and reduce servicemembers’ exposure to toxins. Last year, Duckworth also authored several amendments that were included in the FY2019 NDAA to prevent low-income servicemembers from going hungry, make it easier for Illinois’s small businesses to secure DOD contracts, make the federal contracting process more efficient and further secure the Rock Island Arsenal’s future.