Eastern Washington Wins as McMorris Rodgers Secures Military Funding, Forestry Reforms in Funding Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2018) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement after the House passage of legislation to fund the government, including provisions led by the Congresswoman to fund the military, reform forest management, fix fire borrowing, and deliver resources for rural communities.

“The People’s House is prioritizing the security of Americans and their families by keeping our promise to rebuild our military. In addition to giving our troops, like those serving in Eastern Washington, their biggest pay raise in eight years, this funding bill directs critical resources to our defense that will facilitate the delivery of the KC-135’s to Fairchild.  By fully meeting the requests made by Secretary Mattis and our military leaders, it will provide the certainty they need to close the readiness gap, train our troops, and equip a 21st Century force that is prepared to defend our nation.

“This funding bill also targets needed investments in priorities that will improve the health and safety of people here in Eastern Washington. Specifically, it builds on our ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, improve care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, modernize Eastern Washington’s crumbling infrastructure, increase school safety, and support our scientists and researchers at the National Institutes of Health who are on the verge of major medical breakthroughs.”

“While the FY2018 omnibus ends the dangerous cycle of short-term continuing resolutions for now, this process is badly broken and it must be fixed. The constant threat of government shutdowns is diminishing Eastern Washington’s trust in Congress’s ability to govern effectively. To restore trust and confidence, I will continue to press for solutions that will unlock the appropriations process so Congress can stop lurching from one crisis to the next.”

Yesterday, McMorris Rodgers released this statement outlining additional wins for Eastern Washington. 

NOTE: Upon this legislation being signed into law, the Congresswoman’s SRS legislation will mark her fifth bill to be signed into law in the last six months, and her seventh to pass the House during that time.

RURAL WINS

  • Secure Rural Schools: 2-year extension of Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program at roughly $500 million.

  • Fire borrowing: The legislation includes a “fire borrowing fix” by creating a new wildfire suppression cap adjustment under the Budget Control Act (BCA).

  • Forest Management: Provides forest management reforms to help reduce catastrophic forest fires.

  • Fire Suppression Funding: Funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at the 10-year average of $3.8 billion.

  • PILT: The bill fully funds ($530 million) the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides Federal payments to local governments offset property tax losses due to federal lands

  • Farm Co-Op Tax Fix: Fixes the farm co-op issue by putting agricultural cooperatives and their competitors on a level playing field with respect to the 20 percent deduction for active business income.

  • Rural Broadband: Includes $685 million for the expansion of broadband service at the USDA, $625 million above the FY17 level.

  • Falling Numbers Research: The number is essentially baked into the large ARS number, the increase for falling numbers research is $1 million.  

HEALTH WINS

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): Provides $37 billion – a $3 billion increase – in funding to ensure our researchers — like those at Washington State University — have the funding they need to research and develop innovative, life-saving therapies and treatments for patients in our communities and across the country.

  • Opioids: The bill includes nearly $4 billion to combat our national opioid crisis. The funds are targeted for prevention, treatment, and enforcement. The bill directs assistance to communities with the greatest need.

WINS FOR FAIRCHILD

  • Troops Pay Raise: 2.4% pay raise for troops, including those at Fairchild AFB

  • Tankers: $2.9 billion included for 18 KC-46A tankers (NDAA authorized 17 KC-46A’s). The delivery of the 46’s will help facilitate the delivery of the KC-135’s to Fairchild

  • PFOS/PFOA: $10 million for PFOS/PFOA studies and analysis in O&M Defense-wide; $42.2 million in Navy Environmental Restoration and $43.8 million in Air Force Environmental Restoration to address costs associated with remediating contamination caused by perfluorinated chemicals

  • National Security/Defense: The bill provides the biggest year-to-year increase in defense funding since the Global War on Terrorism began 15 years ago. This funding will help ensure our men and women in uniform get better training and have more capable weapons and equipment so they can win the fight and return home safely.

  • Veterans: The bill provides the largest dollar amount in history to the Department of Veterans Affairs – $81.5 billion, an increase of $7.1 billion (9.5%) above FY17.  The bill includes funding to reduce the backlog of disability claims, provide medical care, and modernize VA facilities.

SCHOOL SAFETY WINS

  • School safety: The bill includes the Stop School Violence Act, which creates a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement how to identify and intervene early when signs of violence arise, creates a coordinated reporting system, and implements school threat assessment protocols to prevent school shootings before they happen.

  • Background Check Reforms: The bill includes the Fix NICS Act, which ensures federal and state authorities comply with existing law and report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,

OTHER WINS

  • Immigration/Border Security: The bill provides funding for more than 90 miles of border wall system, including nearly $1.6 billion for physical barrier assets and infrastructure, and funding for associated technology and personnel.

  • Infrastructure: The bill includes more than $21 billion to rebuild and modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure, create jobs, and grow the economy. The funding is targeted to invest in America’s bridges, roads, airways, railways, waterways, transportation safety, broadband, and rural infrastructure.

  • Contract Towers: Provides $165 million for the Contract Tower Program. This program has been in place for over 30 years and exemplifies how the private sector and federal government can partner together to improve air traffic safety in a proven, cost-effective manner for the FAA and the American taxpayers.

  • Violence Against Women Act:  Provides $492 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants program administered through the Department of Justice, an increase of more than $10 million.

Questions? Reach out to Jared.Powell@mail.house.gov for more information.

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