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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert touts funding wins she voted against

Spending was part of a federal package signed into law last week
Lauren Boebert, a candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, makes a campaign stop in 2020 at the Wild Horse Saloon in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

WASHINGTON – A newsletter distributed by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s office this week touts “nine Boebert wins for Colorado,” but all nine items were included in a bill that the representative voted against earlier this month.

Boebert celebrated investments worth about $2.3 billion and measures such as preventing the use of federal money to pay for abortions, but several of the identified sums are distributed to localities on an annual basis or benefit national programs and initiatives.

“Without selling my soul and my votes through the corrupt earmark process, we were able to get lots of great things done and into federal statute through the normal appropriations process,” Boebert said in the newsletter.

A spokesperson for Boebert told The Durango Herald that each of the nine priorities highlighted in the newsletter are appropriation requests spearheaded by Boebert’s office or were requests from other representatives that she signed onto. Several of the nine priorities were a result of meetings with local community leaders, the spokesperson said.

The $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill containing the “nine Boebert wins” was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15. Boebert voted against it six days earlier. The spokesperson said that the omnibus bill, which wraps budget measures together with policy changes, contained “more bad than good” for Republicans, so Boebert voted against it.

When the federal spending bill is created each year, members of the House can submit specific requests for budget allocations, called appropriations. Texas Rep. Kay Granger, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, sent a letter to Boebert on March 9 outlining several of her priorities that made it into the final legislation.

“(Granger) sent letters to all Republicans who make official requests of the Committee. It’s the Member’s decision to make it public,” Sarah Flaim, Granger’s communications director, said in an email to the Herald. Boebert linked to the letter in her newsletter.

Among the items listed in Boebert’s newsletter was $515 million for Payments in Lieu of Taxes, an annual federal program that compensates local governments that have federal lands in their jurisdictions. Federal lands are not taxable, so PILT payments cover property tax losses and help pay for a variety of services local governments provide to maintain the land. Boebert requested full funding of the program, according to a 2021 letter.

Boebert also trumpeted $1.8 billion in federal spending to fund rural community health centers, a national priority pushed by the Biden administration that will benefit parts of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

Other accomplishments listed in the newsletter included $10 million for an irrigation fund used by the Southern Ute Tribe and a policy win to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list.

Boebert has consistently shunned the use of earmarks, which provide federal funds for local projects, calling the process corrupt and counterproductive. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper secured more than $11 million for La Plata and Montezuma counties using earmarked funds.

Skye Witley, a senior at American University in Washington, D.C., is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez. He can be reached at switley@durangoherald.com.

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