Press Releases

FACT SHEET: Hickenlooper Delivers Big Wins for Colorado in Second Year as U.S. Senator

Jan 9, 2023

In his second year, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper continued to deliver transformative results for the Centennial State.

From addressing climate change to expanding benefits for veterans, lowering health care costs to delivering billions of dollars for infrastructure, we’ve been busy. Here’s just some of what we’ve accomplished:

Inflation Reduction Act

Hickenlooper was instrumental in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses climate change, lowers health care costs, and reduces the deficit by making profitable corporations pay their fair share.

The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest investment in climate rescue in the history of the world and includes:

  • GAME-CHANGING CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS: $373 billion in climate change investments, including more than $100 billion in tax credits for clean energy generation and storage
  • JUMPSTARTS OUR TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Provides a $7,500 tax credit for new EVs and $4,000 for used EVs
  • CLEANS UP OUR AIR: The first-ever methane fee which will charge emitters $1,500 per ton of leaked methane from oil and gas operations. Methane is significantly more harmful than CO2 to our climate and local air quality. Hickenlooper led Colorado in developing the strongest methane regulations in the country when he was Governor
  • FUNDS NREL IN GOLDEN: $2 billion for DOE laboratory infrastructure, including for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden
  • AMERICAN MANUFACTURING: Billions for manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electric vehicles right here in the United States
  • ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Billions for zero-emissions technologies and technical assistance in disadvantaged communities and grants to address pollution and other environmental harms
  • INCLUDES HICKENLOOPER’S COMPETES ACT: Prevents oil and gas companies from leasing tax-payer owned public lands for next to nothing

The Inflation Reduction Act also cuts health care costs for millions of Americans:

  • MEDICARE CAN NOW NEGOTIATE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES: Allows Medicare to negotiate the most expensive prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies and helps keep Medicare drug prices from rising faster than inflation
  • CAPS INSULIN COSTS: Caps out-of-pocket costs for insulin via Medicare at $35 per month
  • CAPS SENIORS’ OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS: Caps out-of-pockets for seniors with Medicare at $2,000 per year
  • EXTENDS HEALTH CARE SAVINGS: Extends Affordable Care Act savings for 13 million Americans who purchase insurance plans on the exchange. This helps three out of four Coloradans with plans through Connect for Health Colorado save an average of 52 percent on their monthly premiums
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ON HICKENLOOPER’S WORK GETTING THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT PASSED:  

AXIOS: “In the past few weeks, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) kept talking and listening to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), even as many senators were privately — and publicly — castigating him, Axios’ Hans Nichols reports. At the same time, Hickenlooper convinced Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to stay at the table. With Hickenlooper keeping talks alive with some shuttle diplomacy, Democrats knew they had to convince Manchin that the package would reduce inflation.”       
THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Several Democrats and climate activists credited Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado with keeping the lines of communication to Mr. Manchin open. ‘When a lot of people said ‘That’s the end’ and everyone’s writing it off, I went to everybody I knew and said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t quit,’ said Mr. Hickenlooper…”         
CNN: “In an effort to break the logjam, Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper, a freshman Democrat, proposed the excise tax on stock buybacks to Schumer as a way to make up for the revenue lost by Sinema’s requests, according to a Democratic aide.”  

One Year Into Our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

In 2021, Hickenlooper was part of the group of 22 senators who negotiated and wrote the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In just a year, over $1.1 billion has been delivered to Colorado, with nearly $3 billion in funds announced in total.

Already funded projects include:

  • repairing key roads and bridges throughout the state,
  • expanding affordable and high-speed internet,
  • capping orphan methane wells,
  • delivering clean water to dozens of communities,
  • improving airport terminals, runways, and other key infrastructure
  • growing our EV charging network, and more.

Key projects include:

  • $350 million to Adams and Denver counties for flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration along the South Platte River
  • $181 million for public transit expansion and improvements across the state
  • $100 million for CDOT’s I-70 Floyd Hill project to, improve safety, mobility, and operational efficiency on I-70 from Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnel
  • $60 million to support the completion of the Arkansas Valley Conduit to provide dozens of communities with a secure and safe supply of water
  • $60 million for Denver International Airport to improve energy efficiency and for upgrades which will increase terminal capacity to accommodate 100 million annual passengers 

Bipartisan Triumphs

When Hickenlooper arrived in Washington, he committed to reaching across the aisle and working together to get things done for Colorado and our nation. Several pieces of meaningful legislation were passed in a bipartisan manner this past year, including:

CHIPS AND SCIENCE ACT: Bipartisan innovation and competition bill to help lower costs, grow the U.S. semiconductor industry, and boost investments in research & development. The CHIPS and Science Act will help the American economy maintain leadership over China in research, development, and emerging technologies while safeguarding our national security and supply chains.

  • GROWS DOMESTIC SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING: Provide $52 billion to grow domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity through incentives, applied research, and workforce development training
  • NEW INVESTMENTS IN FEDERAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: $10 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which has a campus in Boulder, to conduct standards and measurement research related to semiconductors and other emerging technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and more
  • UPGRADES NREL INFRASTRUCTURE: $15 billion to upgrade infrastructure at our Department of Energy national labs like the NREL in Golden

BIPARTISAN SAFER COMMUNITIES ACT: First gun safety bill to pass in three decades, with provisions to reduce violence and keep our country safe.

  • HELPS STATES IMPLEMENT RED-FLAG LAWS: Allocates $750 million for states to create and administer laws that will help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others
  • CLOSES BOYFRIEND-LOOPHOLE: Bans convicted domestic violence abusers in dating relationships from obtaining firearms
  • REDUCES GUN TRAFFICKING: Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements
  • STRENGTHENS BACKGROUND CHECKS: Establishes an enhanced background check process for buyers under 21
  • INVESTS IN MENTAL HEALTH AND SCHOOLS: Over $1 billion for expanding mental health and supportive services in schools

RESPECT FOR MARRIAGE ACT: Protects marriage equality and guarantees same-sex and interracial couples have the same rights afforded to all other marriages. Coloradans overwhelmingly support the constitutional right to marry who you love.

  • PROTECTS SAME-SEX AND INTERRACIAL COUPLES: Requires the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. The bill also guarantees that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin

Honoring Our Promise to Veterans

Hickenlooper voted in support of the bipartisan PACT Act, the largest expansion of health care benefits for our veterans in years. The legislation will dramatically expand access to health care and VA benefits for veterans suffering from the effects of toxic exposure during their military service.

Hickenlooper also joined President Biden at the White House in June for the signing of nine bills honoring our veterans, including two he co-sponsored.

Protecting Colorado Historical Sites and Public Lands

Hickenlooper has made it a priority to protect Colorado lands, including historical sites that both enrich our understanding of our past and educate future generations.

CAMP HALE – CONTINENTAL DIVIDE NATIONAL MONUMENT: Hickenlooper joined President Biden and Colorado organizations, towns, counties, businesses, leaders, and more in October for the dedication of the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument. Camp Hale served as the training ground for the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. The monument designation came after Hickenlooper, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, and others urged President Biden to use presidential authority to protect Camp Hale.

AMACHE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE: In March, President Biden signed into law Hickenlooper’s Amache National Historic Site Act, which established Camp Amache, a former Japanese American incarceration facility outside of Granada, as part of the National Park System.

SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE: Hickenlooper joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and tribal leaders at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in October to remember the 1864 massacre and announce the addition of almost 3,500 acres to the Site.

DEARFIELD HOMESTEAD STUDY: Signed into law through the FY23 federal funding bill, Hickenlooper’s Dearfield Study Act will direct the Department of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Dearfield Homestead in Weld County to determine its suitability as a unit of the National Park System. Dearfield Homestead was the largest Black  homestead in Colorado.

Supporting Small Businesses and Workers

Two Hickenlooper-led laws will make it easier for small businesses to access and offer retirement plans for their employees. Due to costs and regulatory complexity, only 53 percent of workers at small businesses have access to a retirement plan compared to 85 percent of employees at larger companies.

INCENTIVIZING SMALL BUSINESS RETIREMENT SAVINGS ACT: Helps small businesses offset the costs of offering their employees a retirement plan by providing a tax credit for the first five years of matching contributions made by small employers to their workers’ retirement savings plans when they create a plan

SIMPLIFYING SMALL BUSINESS RETIREMENT SAVINGS ACT: Modifies two innovative types of retirement plans that are designed to make providing retirement plans easier and more affordable for small businesses

Getting to Work in Washington

Our office in Washington represents Coloradans’ seat at the table.

In Washington, Hickenlooper:

  • Voted 395 times on the Senate floor
  • Recommended and voted to confirm three new Colorado federal judges
  • Voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Sponsored 15 bills, and co-sponsored another 58 – 56% of the bills are bipartisan
  • 7 bills introduced by Hickenlooper were passed and signed into law
  • Attended 82 committee and subcommittee hearings and chaired five, including a full Commerce Committee hearing on emerging U.S. technologies
  • Brought together all Senators from the Mountain West to form the Mountain West Caucus and talk Western Water

Hitting the Ground in Colorado

One of Hickenlooper’s favorite parts of the job is traveling around Colorado to visit towns and counties to hear more from constituents on what their communities need.

Back home, Hickenlooper has:

  • Visited 58 Colorado towns and 35 counties all across the state
  • Held four Virtual Town Halls, including one in partnership with the Colorado Sun and a tele-town hall with Colorado AARP members
  • Secured $129.3 million in funding for community projects across Colorado through the Congressionally Directed Spending process for FY23, with over $178.3 million in total funding for Colorado projects included in the FY23 federal funding bill
  • Responded to over 400,000 constituent letters and received over 29,000 calls
  • Helped over 3,500 Coloradans resolve issues with government agencies, such as VA and Social Security benefits, unemployment, and immigration
  • Hosted five Cabinet Secretaries – Deb Haaland, Tom Vilsack, Pete Buttigieg, Marty Walsh, Denis McDonough – and two visits from President Biden
  • And Hickenlooper still had time to welcome a baby boy, Jack, with his wife Robin

HERE’S WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON IN 2023:  

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS: Climate change is the defining issue of our time. While the Inflation Reduction Act takes monumental steps to curb the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gases, and jumpstart our transition to clean energy, there’s more to do. Colorado is on the frontlines, where our state is facing year-round extreme fire seasons and a historic drought. Hickenlooper is committed to tackling the Colorado River shortages and addressing Western Water.  

FIXING OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: Our broken immigration system has stifled our economy, separated families, and undercut our country’s proud heritage as a nation of immigrants. Congress must tackle comprehensive immigration reform once and for all, including a pathway to citizenship and expanding access to worker visas.  

SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS: A former small business owner himself, Hickenlooper understands the significance that small businesses play in our communities and to our economy. Hickenlooper is working to make it easier for women and people of color to start businesses, for small businesses to offer and access retirement plans for their employees, and more.  

IMPROVING WORKFORCE TRAINING AND EDUCATION: Our American workforce is strengthened when we invest in our workers.  Hickenlooper is pushing to expand job training, research, and diverse educational opportunities to help individuals prepare for today’s careers and build our workforce.  

KEEPING SPACE COMMAND IN COLORADO: Along with a bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers, Hickenlooper will continue to fight for U.S. Space Command to stay in its rightful home of Colorado Springs to boost mission readiness in the face of increasing threats to global security.  

PROTECTING COLORADO LANDS: Coloradans are proud of our state’s beautiful landscapes, and overwhelmingly support protections to ensure we protect these stunning lands for future generations and our environment. Hickenlooper will continue to advocate for the CORE Act, which will grow our outdoor recreation economy and protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado.      

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