McMorris Highlights Year-End Achievements

Dec 31, 2008

(Washington, D.C.)  During her first year in Congress, Cathy McMorris (WA-05) has worked to protect what's important to Eastern Washington. From helping local small businesses, to hosting local congressional hearings, to introducing legislation to meet rural health care needs, McMorris has actively fought for the interests of Eastern Washington.

"My top three priorities for my first term in Congress are growing our economy; providing for quality, affordable health care; and keeping our nation and communities safe,¨ said McMorris. "I have worked proactively to address the issues that are most important to the people of Eastern Washington. Throughout the year I have traveled to all twelve counties in Eastern Washington meeting with individuals, groups, and businesses and listening to their concerns and priorities. I am prouder to be serving Eastern Washington now more then ever before and look forward to another productive year."

Job Creation and Economic Growth
McMorris has supported policies that grow our economy, help small businesses, create a skilled workforce, and bring new jobs to Eastern Washington.

  • Advocated on behalf of Eastern Washington to stop the President from requiring the Bonneville Power Administration to charge market-based rates for electricity. The change would have cost a typical Northwest household nearly $300 per year.
  • McMorris sponsored and supported the permanent repeal of the Death Tax to protect our small businesses and family farms.
  • Connected Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner with local educators and business owners who stressed the urgent need for a relevant workforce.
  • Supported class action lawsuit reform, to curb litigation costs for small businesses.
  • Voted to extend tax relief to promote economic growth.
  • Co-sponsored a balanced budget amendment to restore fiscal discipline to Washington D.C.
  • Supported the Transportation Equity Act which included funding for transportation projects in Eastern Washington including nearly $6 million for U.S. Highway 12 from Burbank to Walla Walla; $6.6 million for U.S. North Spokane Corridor; $9.9 million for the widening of I-90 from Spokane to Idaho State line; and more than $7 million for projects in Asotin, Ferry, Okanogan, and Spokane Counties.
  • Offered testimony to the SBA Ombudsman on behalf of small businesses and how they are impacted by the implementation of the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Enforcement Act.

Agriculture and natural resources are vital to the economic stability of Eastern Washington, and McMorris has made it a priority to look out for the interests of our farmers and ranchers.

  • Hosted two of the most influential leaders in the nation for agriculture policy: House Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns for farm forums in Eastern Washington. On several occasions, members of the agriculture community shared firsthand concerns relating to fuel and fertilizer costs; trade policies, and market pricing.
  • Hosted a Water and Power Subcommittee hearing in Clarkston with Congressman George Radanovich on the critical role that the Snake and Columbia River systems play in irrigation, transportation and commerce.
  • Convened a Forest Health hearing in Colville with Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden to allow for testimony on implementation of healthy forest legislation and post-fire treatment.
  • Chaired a congressional task force to strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
  • Secured funding for the Agriculture Research Service center at Washington State University, ensuring their continued role as a leader in agriculture research.

Quality, Affordable Health Care
McMorris has consistently supported legislation that strengthens health care delivery and ensures access to quality health care in rural areas.

  • Sponsored legislation to establish demonstration projects to improve access to Medicaid through information technology.
  • Voted for Association Health Plans that allow small business employers to band together in order to purchase health insurance at a lower cost for their employees.
  • Supported Health Savings Accounts that allow families to save tax-free for their health care needs.
  • Introduced legislation to protect the rural health training program known as WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) which effectively addresses the shortage of health care professionals in rural areas.
  • Co-sponsored the HEALTH Act to bring much needed medical liability reform to health care providers in Eastern Washington.
  • Promoted the use of Health Technology as a way to deliver quality health care to a wider population at reduced costs and supported regional companies such as Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) through her appointment to Speaker Hastert's High-Tech Work Group.

Keeping our Nation and Community Safe
McMorris is working to provide our law enforcement and military men and women with the tools they need to complete their missions.

  • Fought to protect Fairchild Air Force Base during the Base Realignment and Closure process, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, is now focused on expanding the base and securing replacements to the aging KC-135 tankers.
  • In August, McMorris held a crime town hall with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to continue to make Eastern Washington a safe place to live, work and raise a family.
  • Co-sponsored legislation to help border communities with security costs such as prosecution, detention of suspects and court costs.
  • Co-sponsored the Children¡¦s Safety Act to protect our children from sex offenders by expanding the definition of certain offenses; requiring registration prior to leaving prison and extending the duration of required registration; and ensuring mandatory minimum sentences for violent and sexual crimes against children.
  • Co-sponsored legislation to fight the war on meth, is a member of the Meth Caucus, and served on three committees which deal directly with the impact of drugs and drug trafficking.

Constituent Services
In the past year, McMorris has helped hundreds of individuals cut through red tape and navigate the complexities of federal agencies, advocating on their behalf for a fair and timely resolution to their problems. Some examples of favorable resolved issues:

  • Secured permanent asylum for Vladimir German and his family so they could remain in Walla Walla.
  • Awarded a Purple Heart to Marine Federico Diaz-Martinez after advocating to the Department of Defense of his behalf.
  • Guaranteed the success of the Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation charity event in Okanogan by securing and expediting a visa for Canadian entertainer Jonathan Bos.
  • Coordinated multiple agencies to secure appropriate permits for a landowner to stabilize an eroding riverbank which threatened his home and property.
  • Expedited military service unemployability for a retired veteran resulting in a retroactive payment of nearly $80,000.

McMorris worked to secure grant money for organizations and programs that will grow Eastern Washington¡¦s economy and keep our communities safe.

  • $300,000: Spokane Neighborhood Economic Development Alliance (SNEDA)
  • $300,000: Regional Institute for Community Orientated Policing Services at Washington State University
  • $3,000,000: Spokane Police Department Community Oriented Policing Services

McMorris, along with the Washington State delegation, secured the following appropriation funds for key projects in Eastern Washington:

Transportation Equity Act
Our transportation infrastructure is vital to the economic stability and growth of Eastern Washington. Improving the flow of traffic, expanding our highways to transport products grown and made in our region, and providing better conditions to make our roads safer are all benefits of these projects.

  • $5.94 million: U.S. Highway 12, Burbank to Walla Walla
  • $6.64 million: U.S. 395 North Spokane Corridor
  • $9.94 million: I-90 Spokane to Idaho State Line Widening
  • $800,000: Bridging the Valley
  • $840,000: Fleshman Way/State Route 129 Interchange
  • $440,000: Spokane Advanced Traffic Management System Expansion
  • $1.65 million: Toroda Creek Road Improvements, Ferry County
  • $850,000: Toroda Creek Road Improvements, Okanogan County

Energy and Water
This appropriations bill covers a wide range of projects that are crucial to Eastern Washington. These projects will help us have a skilled workforce, provide for our future energy needs, use innovative technology solutions to help our national defense efforts, and ensure our farmers have the water to irrigate their lands.

  • $250,000: Odessa Sub Aquifer ¡V Technical study
  • $800,000: Gonzaga University ¡V Electrical line distribution program
  • $6 million: Isothermal Systems Research (ISR) Spray Cooling technology

Military Quality of Life
This bill ensures that the men and women who serve our country, and are stationed in Eastern Washington, have the best facilities, equipment and care possible.

  • $706,000: Planning and Design for a Mission Support Complex at Fairchild AFB

Funding from this bill will help boost the agriculture industry in Eastern Washington and allow for new projects and innovations. It provides funding for projects in three main areas: human health and safety; fulfilling commitments to important food and nutrition programs; and supporting farmers and ranchers in rural areas.

  • $3.625 million: ARS Research Laboratory to replace Johnson Hall in Pullman, WA
  • S 1 million: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). ARS is directed to implement an integrated BSE program in pathogenesis, diagnostics, and intervention.

Agricultural Research Service Continuing Programs:

  • Grain Legume Plant Pathologist Position; Pullman, WA
  • Hops Research; Washington State University
  • Microbial Genomics; WSU-Institute for Genomic Research
  • Regional Molecular Genotyping; Pullman, WA
  • Virus-Free Fruit Tree Cultivars; WSU

Defense (Conference Report still pending in Senate)
It is vital to support local companies who are making a tremendous contribution to our national defense and security. Eastern Washington has a growing technology base focused on the defense industry. This funding will allow for new innovations and help boost the local economy.

  • $4.4 million: Itronix Warfighter Pocket XP
  • $1.2 million: Micro vision Eyewear Display for Battlefield Ops

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