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The bill lifted spending caps and suspended the debt limit for a year.

The House passed the measure on a bipartisan 240-186 vote; 73 Democrats voted for the bill, while 67 Republicans voted against it. The Senate vote was 71-28.

 

Here's how Indiana's two senators, Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, and second district representative Jackie Walorski weighed in on their votes:

 

Donnelly helps pass bipartisan budget deal

Would provide needed investments in military readiness, infrastructure, funding to fight the opioid abuse epidemic, extensions of funding for Community Health Centers and the Children’s Health Insurance Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly Friday helped the Senate pass a bipartisan deal that would allow for necessary investments in a number of priority areas, including military readiness, fighting opioid abuse, and reauthorizing Community Health Centers.

Donnelly said, “For too long, Congress has chosen to kick the can down the road with short-term funding bills without providing any long-term budget certainty. I supported this bipartisan, two-year budget deal because it would allow military and national security leaders to plan for the future, while also making significant investments in infrastructure, community health centers, and in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

Background on the bipartisan deal from Donnelly:

  • Would set spending levels for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019.
  • Would keep the federal government open through March 23 while specific details are worked out on a longer-term funding package.
  • Would allow for significant investments in military readiness that the Department of Defense has been asking for, and which have been hampered by repeated short term funding measures.
  • Would allow for $6 billion over two years toward programs combatting the opioid abuse epidemic. Donnelly has repeatedly pushed for a more robust federal response to this public health emergency.
  • Would reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund for two years and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years, an increase following last month’s agreement for a six-year extension. Donnelly has repeatedly called for reauthorization of Community Health Center Fund, which expiredSept. 30. Donnelly has long supported the CHIP program and last month welcomed its reauthorization.
  • Would invest in infrastructure, including surface transportation, rural water and waste water, rural broadband, and energy infrastructure.
  • Would create a Joint Select Committee tasked with solving the multiemployer pension crisis, which Donnelly has been outspoken about solving.

 

 

Walorski issues statement on budget agreement that fully funds military

Congress Passes Long-Term Budget to Rebuild Military, Combat Opioid Epidemic, Help Hoosier Families Thrive

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) Friday released the following statement after voting to send President Trump a long-term budget agreement that fully funds the military, provides resources to combat the opioid epidemic, and advances evidence-based solutions to help Hoosier families thrive:

“Years of irresponsible and arbitrary defense cuts have jeopardized our national security, diminished our military readiness, and endangered our troops in the field. It’s time for that to end.

“Today we are delivering on our promise to rebuild the military and get our brave servicemen and women the tools, training, and support they need to keep our nation safe.

“We are also making critical investments to combat the opioid epidemic, as well as advancing commonsense solutions to help Hoosier families achieve the American Dream. This bill is far from perfect, but it is a necessary step as we continue working with President Trump to build a stronger and safer country.”

Background from Walorski:

The House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892) by a vote of 240 to 186. The legislation, which establishes long-term funding levels and includes an extension of current funding through March 23.

Military Funding

The Bipartisan Budget Act ensures the military is fully funded at levels consistent with the fiscal year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) so service members have the tools, equipment, and training necessary to keep the nation safe. It includes a 2.4 percent raise for troops – their biggest pay increase in eight years – as well as an increase in active duty, national guard, and reserve forces and additional resources to close the readiness gap.

Defense funding will increase by $80 billion this year and $85 billion next year, unwinding the sequestration cuts that jeopardized national security. The House previously passed defense funding at FY18 NDAA levels, but the legislation was repeatedly blocked in the Senate.

President Trump expressed strong support for the budget agreement, and Defense Secretary James Mattis stated it “will ensure our military can defend our way life, preserve the promise of prosperity, and pass on the freedoms you and I enjoy to the next generation.”

VA Maintenance

Includes an additional $4 billion to reduce the maintenance backlog at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.

Opioid Epidemic

Provides $6 billion over two years to combat the opioid epidemic through grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts.

Community Health Centers

Extends funding for community health centers – which take an innovative, patient-focused approach to ensure vulnerable and underserved populations have access to quality, affordable health care – for two years. In November, the House passed the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922) to fund CHIP, community health centers, and other important public health priorities.

Home Visiting Program

Extends the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program for five years, with additional flexibility for states and new requirements to ensure it remains an effective, evidence-based program. In September 2017, the House passed the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824).

CHIP

Extends the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years – an additional four years beyond the reauthorization Congress recently passed into law.

Interstate Foster Care

Includes bipartisan legislation Walorski introduced to speed up interstate foster care placement. In June 2017, the House passed the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act (H.R. 2742), which would help states move to an electronic system for foster care placement and adoptions across state lines in order to reduce the delays and costs of paperwork.

Social Impact Partnerships

Includes the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 576), legislation sponsored by Walorski to support innovative, evidence-based solutions through social impact partnership programs that deliver results.

Seniors’ Health Care

Protects seniors’ access to health care by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under Obamacare. In November 2017, the House passed the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Care Act (H.R. 849) to prevent the board of unelected bureaucrats from cutting Medicare. 

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

 

 

Young: Budget agreement includes Indiana priorities and critical military funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) issued the following statement regarding the two-year budget agreement that was signed into law by President Trump Friday morning:

“This budget agreement includes several Indiana priorities, including my two bills to fundamentally reform our social safety net and to improve foster care placement, as well as critical funding for our military.

“Our nation confronts a serious and growing array of national security threats and challenges, and this budget agreement will help Congress finally provide the Department of Defense the resources and predictability it needs to improve readiness and modernize our forces. We have a responsibility to ensure our service members have the resources they need to accomplish their missions, protect our country, and return home safely.

“Moving forward, Congress must work together to address the true drivers of our national debt by strengthening our entitlement programs. This will remain one of my top priorities as we continue to tackle our nation’s most pressing issues.”

 
 
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Local News Briefs

Chamber seeks nominations for 2018 Halleck Award

The Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2018 Halleck Community Service Award.

The award will be presented at the Chamber's annual meeting/awards banquet this spring. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 28.

 
Local author introduces newest books in mystery series

Local author Kathleen (Kathi) Thompson of Star City will introduce her most recent books to Pulaski County readers with a book signing event at the Pulaski County Public Library. She will be available to speak to individuals and sign books on Wednesday, March 7, from 3 until 6 p.m.

Thompson, retired from a career in criminal justice and social services, debuted her first novel in the series, Tiger Lily’s Café, in 2014. The series now contains 10 volumes. Turtle Soup, Boo!, Phishing, Holiday, A Rock And A Hard Place, Splash, Chasing A Butterfly, Pumpkin Squash, Snowblind, and Hearts On Fire. All volumes will be available.

 
PCPL lists February programs, events

The Pulaski County Public Library has listed its special programs and activities for February, including a Harry Potter Night and a Valentine's Tote Bag Craft.

For more information on any program, call the library at 574-946- 3432.

 
PCHS annual meeting to feature program on Wabash & Erie Canal Association

WINAMAC - The Pulaski County Historical Society will hold its annual feature program Thursday evening (March 8), at the Pulaski County Public Library, Winamac.

This year's program will feature guest speaker Dan McCain of the Wabash & Erie Canal Association. The public is welcome to join the PCHS membership for the dessert and coffee bar program. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

 
Scholarships available through Community Foundation of Pulaski County

Scholarship applications for 2018 high school graduates will be available online through the Community Foundation of Pulaski County starting Friday, Jan. 12.

Applications are found on the Community Foundation’s website at www.cfopc.org.

 
Candidate filing for 2018 Indiana Primary closes

Candidate filing for the 2018 Indiana Primary Election closed at 12 noon, Friday (Feb. 9).

Pulaski County offices up for election are circuit court judge, superior court judge, prosecutor, clerk of the circuit court, sheriff, assessor, coroner, surveyor, county commissioner District 3, and county council Districts 1-4.

 
Civic Players of Logansport to present 'Nana’s Naughty Knickers'

LOGANSPORT - Civic Players of Logansport will present the comedy “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” on the weekend of March 2, 3, and 4.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. All shows are at the McHale Performing Arts Center at the Logansport High School campus.

 
EPCS seeking nominations for new Winamac Distinguished Alumni program

The Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation is seeking nominations for the inaugural Winamac Distinguished Alumni Class of 2018.

Distinguished Alumni are graduates of Winamac Community High School/Winamac High School, Pulaski High School, or Star City High School (living or deceased) who have led successful lives while making substantial contributions to their chosen field of work or have provided outstanding service to their community, state, or country.

 
Cold or Flu?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced Friday (Jan.12) that influenza cases are widespread across the country, with Indiana among the states hardest hit.

"Flu is everywhere in the US right now," said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC's influenza branch. "This is the first year we've had the entire continental US at the same level (of flu activity) at the same time." It has been an early flu season that seems to be peaking now, he said, with a 5.8% increase in laboratory-confirmed cases this week over last.

 
PMH Senior Care helps senior citizens with mental health issues

Pulaski Memorial Hospital's new Senior Care program can help senior citizens with mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, fear and worry lasting more than two weeks. It also assists with grief issues.

Program director Mindy Shidler, RN, hopes to spread information about the Senior Care program throughout the community.

 
 

Indiana News

Grants available to cultivate Indiana's specialty crop sector

INDIANAPOLIS  - The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is now accepting proposals for projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of Indiana's specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture). Applications are due to ISDA by March 26.

"Various organizations have benefited from grants from USDA, and I am excited to see what projects will come to fruition through the funds awarded,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Encouraging competition and innovation will help take Indiana agriculture to the Next Level.”

 
Flu claims 167 Indiana lives so far this season

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is reminding Hoosiers that influenza activity continues to be high and widespread across Indiana and is urging people to take precautions against the illness, which has claimed 167 Indiana lives so far this flu season.

According to ISDH’s weekly influenza report (Friday, Feb. 9), emergency departments and outpatient providers continue to see increased visits from individuals with flu-like illness. Flu outbreaks also have increased in schools and long-term care facilities.

 
Donnelly, Walorski, Young weigh-in on federal budget deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress passed a $400 billion budget deal Friday (Feb. 9), ending a brief U.S. government shutdown.

President Trump signed the measure which is expected to push budget deficits past $1 trillion with $300 billion in new spending over the next two years for military and nondefense programs, plus $90 billion in disaster aid.

 
Pulaski County unemployment rate at 3.1% in December

Pulaski County's unemployment rate dipped 3.1 percent in December, down from 3.3 percent in November, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday (Jan. 24). The rate was 4.5 percent a year ago.

The county has 5,810 employed persons in a labor force of 5,997. Last month those numbers were 5,887 of 6,087. A year ago the numbers were 5,798 of 6,072.

 
Delphi double homicide investigation continues

INDIANAPOLIS - Monday morning (Jan.15) members of the Liberty German family and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter appeared on a live segment of the Megyn Kelly TODAY show to help keep the double homicide of Liberty German and Abigail Williams in the public eye. Late last year there was a similar appearance on the Dr. PHIL show.

The one-year anniversary of the teen girls' deaths near Delphi approaches next month.

 
Holcomb’s second State of the State address emphasizes workforce, presents goals for progress in 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb delivered his 2018 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly Tuesday (Jan. 9).

While continuing his focus on five key pillars, the governor’s remarks highlighted his commitment to developing a skilled, ready workforce and detailed several milestones he expects the state to meet.

 
Scammers targeting NIPSCO customers throughout Indiana

Company offers tips to avoid being a victim

MERRILLVILLE - NIPSCO has received an influx in calls from residential and business customers reporting several hundred cases of unknown callers claiming to be affiliated with the company and demanding payment through a prepaid card.

Some reports have indicated that scammers have appeared in person knocking on doors, while other reports have indicated that the company’s 1-800 customer service phone number was cloned to appear on caller IDs.

 
Fountain County contestant wins 2018 Indiana State Fair Queen title

INDIANAPOLIS - Fountain County's Audrey Campbell was crowned as the 60th Indiana State Fair Queen at the pageant finals Sunday afternoon at the state fairgrounds.

She will reign over the 2018 Indiana State Fair Aug. 3-19, in Indianapolis.

 
 

Post News

Pulaski Memorial Hospital Medical and Surgical Group to open new physician office

NORTH JUDSON – Pulaski Memorial Hospital Medical and Surgical Group has announced the opening of a new physician office in North Judson.

Dr. Curtis Bejes, a native resident of North Judson, will serve as medical director for the facility and will base his practice out of that office.

 
Fourteen children await a CASA volunteer in Pulaski County

Nearly 700,000 children each year are victims of abuse or neglect in the United States.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) trains volunteer advocates who are appointed by judges to speak on behalf of these children, to make sure they do not get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system, or languish in inappropriate group and foster homes. These CASA volunteers make a lifelong difference in the lives of children in their community.

 
Community Foundation welcomes new directors

The Community Foundation of Pulaski County welcomes three new members to its board of directors for 2018.

Incoming members are Kaye Beall, Megan Moon and Tim Gearhart. Each will serve a three-year term, with a maximum of three full consecutive terms of service.

 
EPCS Board approves purchase of school buses

WINAMAC - The Eastern Pulaski Community School Board approved the purchase of two new school buses at its February meeting.

Superintendent Dan Foster presented a request to purchase one 78-passenger International/Collins school bus and one 48-passenger school bus. Funds have been set aside for these purchases. After discussion, the board voted to approve both purchases as presented.

 
February is 'Teen Dating Violence Awareness' month

"Encourage healthy relationships for your children by talking to them about friendships, dating, self-respect and respect for others," says Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Gaumer.

Gaumer notes that February is "Teen Dating Violence Awareness" month, and caregivers should be aware that bruises or broken bones aren't the only form of abuse children may experience in friendships and dating. Abuse is also verbal, emotional, physical, sexual or digital hurt.

 
Community Foundation changes grant process

Now offering year-round grant opportunities

The Community Foundation of Pulaski County (CFPC) has announced that it will offer year-round grant opportunities starting this year. There will no longer be grant deadlines, so applicants may submit applications online at any time throughout the year.

This new grant process will allow proposals to be accepted on a continuous basis, without deadline, giving grant seekers the opportunity to apply when they wish as opposed to waiting for an annual grant cycle.

 
West Central to accept bids for building projects

FRANCESVILLE - Superintendent Don Street provided updates to the West Central School Board at its February meeting for the secure entrance and utilization project, as well as the roofing project.

The board will meet again on Feb. 15 to accept bids for the projects. Board members will also discuss the corporation's strategic plan.

 
Missing Knox woman found dead in Winamac

WINAMAC - A Knox woman who has been missing for almost three weeks was found dead Friday in Winamac, according to Knox police.

The body of Barbara McCurdy, 37, was discovered in her car in a back lot of the Braun Chevrolet car dealership on Monticello Street.

 
CFPC reflects on 2017 highlights, looks ahead to 2018

With the first month of the New Year coming to a close, the Community Foundation of Pulaski County (CFPC) offers a final look back at 2017 and offers a peek at what’s ahead in 2018.

The Community Foundation of Pulaski County’s 20th anniversary was celebrated in grand style at Mill Creek Gardens in July. Past and present community members were recognized for their many acts of giving over the years, building both the foundation and the community in turn.