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Barrasso:Federal Government Not Paying It’s Bills

Senator John Barrasso, R-WY, photo courtesy Senator Barrasso Facebook page

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso says the federal government is “not paying it’s bills” by withholding about $110 million in money from mineral severance taxes to 35 states, including Wyoming.

Barrasso says congress approved sequestration spending cuts, but says the mineral money is not part of those cuts and is owed to the states. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in April that federal budget cuts forced her agency to cut those payments. Wyoming stands to lose over $50 million dollars if the funding is not restored, while New Mexico would take a $25 million dollar hit.

Barrasso and fellow Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi are joining with New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators in sponsoring legislation to restore the money. Enzi and Barrasso are both  Republicans, while the two New Mexico Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, are Democrats. Enzi had originally expected to formally introduce the bill this week, but now says he expects to do so next week to give more time to line up support for the measure.

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