As we move into the final month of 2015, I wanted to share some great news about two bills I introduced that have recently made significant strides forward. I am proud of these accomplishments, as they will have a positive impact across the entire state of Nevada.
First, I am pleased to report that my legislation to extend the future Interstate 11 (I-11) is one step closer to being enacted into law, passing the United States House of Representatives on November 5th. For years, I have been fighting for this initiative, which extends the current proposed highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas north to Interstate 80 in Northern Nevada. In July, I successfully navigated it to Senate passage as part of theDeveloping a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. The recent House vote means this important Nevada jobs initiative has successfully passed both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
Nevada is projected to grow with the addition of 1.3 million people over the next 10 years. Our state welcomed close to 40 million visitors last year, which supported 462,000 local jobs. All of this means Nevada will need to invest in the necessary infrastructure to ensure people can move around the state safely, quickly, and efficiently. Not only does the I-11 extension have the potential to open even more markets for tourism and trade, it means good paying jobs and an economic boost Nevadans are eager to see.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and as Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Working Group on Infrastructure and Community Development, I am well-positioned to strongly advocate on behalf of Nevada’s transportation needs. Please know I am fighting in Washington to enact a transportation bill that invests in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, reduces traffic and congestion, and increases safety. Transportation efficiency and reliability is critical to our nation’s economic competitiveness.
I am also proud to have secured Senate passage of my legislation, the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act (S.1203), which implements reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eliminate the disability claims backlog and improve the claims process. One of the greatest privileges of serving Nevada in the United States Senate is the opportunity to work on behalf of our state’s more than 300,000 veterans. Locally and nationwide, our American heroes face great challenges. Chief among them is the VA disability claims backlog. I am proud to see this legislation pass, taking another step in the process to remove the backlog entirely. The red tape our veterans face is unacceptable, and I won’t back down until the backlog is eliminated. This legislation also includes three other veteran bills I introduced to secure recognition for Filipino veterans, improve eligibility for veteran-owned small businesses, and ensure transparency in taxpayer-funded research by the VA. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill into law.
I hope each one of you has a wonderful holiday season. As always, please feel free to reach out to my Las Vegas office with any comments or concerns at (702) 388-6605. +