WATFORD CITY, N.D. – November 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Senator John Hoeven today held a community roundtable at Watford City High School to take questions from students and area residents. There were approximately 100 high school students, including Watford City High School’s senior class and two classes of social studies/government students. Scott Hennen, host of What’s on Your Mind, served as the event moderator. During the roundtable, Hoeven outlined his efforts on behalf of communities in western North Dakota, including working to pass a long-term highway bill, lift the crude oil export ban, and restore cuts to the crop insurance program in the recently passed budget agreement.
“A long-term highway bill will provide the certainty we need to plan for and build the bridges, roads and other projects we need to sustain our economy and our communities,” Hoeven said. “Congress is working hard to put this into place by the end of the year so that Watford City and other communities across the state can continue to grow and thrive. We’re also working to include legislation lifting the ban on oil exports as part of the long-term highway bill. Communities like Watford City will benefit from ending the oil export ban, as will our state and nation.”
Long-Term Highway Bill
Hoeven said he continues working to pass a long-term highway bill before the end of the year. In July, the Senate passed a long-term bill that will provide North Dakota with more than $1.6 billion. Hoeven said the formula is favorable to North Dakota and increases highway funding for the state to $270 million, about $30 million a year more than it now receives. The bill also includes two measures introduced by Hoeven: the Driver Privacy Act and the Distracted Driving Act, which he led with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Currently, a House and Senate Conference Committee is working to finalize the bill. Hoeven said he is disappointed that Congress had to pass another short-term extension through Dec. 4, but it will provide the conference committee time to finish their work so that a long-term bill can be put in place before the end of the year.
Lifting the Crude Oil Ban
As a member of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, Hoeven said that he is working to attach legislation lifting the ban on U.S. oil exports to the new highway bill. The senator said that the ban on crude oil exports has long outlived its usefulness and outlined how ending the ban will benefit U.S. consumers, the energy industry, the U.S. economy, and national security.
Restoring Crop Insurance
Hoeven highlighted his opposition to a provision in the new budget agreement that would reduce crop insurance by $3 billion and his efforts to restore the funding in the omnibus at the end of the year. Since 2008, the crop insurance program has already been reduced by $12 billion, and Hoeven said it is unfair to the country’s farmers and ranchers to go back and require an additional $3 billion reduction after $23 billion in savings was found in the 2014 farm bill. Hoeven is a member of the Agriculture Committee and conferee on the bicameral panel that worked to negotiate the final version of the farm bill.
Following the roundtable, Hoeven, Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford and Economic Developer Gene Veeder reviewed progress on Watford City’s new high school and housing development projects in the area. The new $50 million high school, which broke ground in July, will house state-of-the-art sports facilities and a spacious theatre space.