News Releases

Murray Secures Dozens of Wins for Washington State in Annual Spending Bill

Jan 14 2014

Twelve-part Appropriations bill builds on Murray-Ryan budget deal rolls back two-thirds of non-defense sequestration cuts, prevents this year’s scheduled defense sequester, and avoids another government shutdown crisis

Washington state wins include funding for new KC-46A tanker and P-8A Poseidon fleets, funding for Sound Transit, Puget Sound cleanup and salmon recovery efforts, bridge safety policies in response to the Skagit Bridge collapse, support for veterans, and more than $2 billion for Hanford cleanup   

(Washington, D.C.) – Late yesterday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Appropriations Committee leaders released an omnibus Appropriations bill which includes several significant wins for Washington state secured by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), including funding for new KC-46A tanker and P-8A Poseidon fleets, funding for Sound Transit, Puget Sound cleanup and salmon recovery efforts, bridge safety policies in response to the Skagit Bridge collapse, and more than $2 billion for Hanford cleanup that could save jobs previously thought lost because of sequestration cuts.  

In December, Senator Murray, as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, reached a landmark budget deal with U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that rolled back significant cuts from sequestration and provided a critical framework for the spending bill released today by the Appropriations Committee leaders.  Senator Murray, also a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was able to work with her colleagues to ensure several Washington state priorities were included in the omnibus package.  In order to become law, the House and Senate must each pass the omnibus bill, and it then must be signed by the President.  

Under cuts mandated by sequestration in the Budget Control Act, the government’s discretionary spending limit for FY 13 was $968 billion.  Under the budget agreement reached by Senator Murray and Rep. Ryan, the discretionary spending limit for this FY14 omnibus bill is $1.012 trillion. If not for the budget agreement, which rolled back cuts from sequestration, the FY14 budget topline would have been $967 billion.  The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 maintains defense spending at roughly current levels and increases non-defense discretionary spending significantly by replacing almost two-thirds of this year’s cuts.

If Murray and Ryan hadn’t reached an agreement, sequestration would have remained in place and overall discretionary spending would have been capped at $976 billion. The Murray-Ryan deal increased critical investments in defense and non-defense programs, setting the overall discretionary cap at $1.012 trillion. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 maintains defense spending at roughly current levels and increases non-defense discretionary spending significantly by replacing almost two-thirds of this year’s cuts.

“After reaching a budget compromise with Congressman Ryan last year, today’s appropriations bill is a critical next step in the process of getting our government and economy back on track, avoiding another government shutdown, and investing in jobs, families, businesses, and our national security,” said Senator Murray.  “There’s more work to be done to build on the bipartisan budget work we did in the Budget and Appropriations Committees, but the omnibus spending bill released this week contains vital investments for our nation’s economy as well as critical projects and programs that are important to Washington state.  From funding the KC-46A military tanker built in Washington state and rolling back harmful sequestration cuts to investing in Puget Sound cleanup, salmon restoration, and critical transportation infrastructure, this bill is undoubtedly a significant ‘win’ for Washington state.”

A list of funding for projects and programs secured by Senator Murray is below:

Defense

  • $153.1 million for construction and facilities improvements at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM): This funding will support improvements to the airfield, maintenance hangars, and aviation battalion complex and help keep the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade based in Washington state.

  • $3 billion to build 16 Navy P-8A Poseidons, a submarine-hunting aircraft to be based at Naval Station Whidbey Island.

  • $85.2 million to build and expand facilities at Naval Station Whidbey Island, which will be home to a new fleet of P-8A Poseidons. These new facilities will improve operational conditions for the P-8A as the P-3 is phased out.

  • $1.6 billion to build the next-generation KC-46A refueling tanker:  The KC-46A tankers are built entirely in the Puget Sound region by Washington state’s world-class aerospace manufacturing workforce.  Fairchild Air Force Base is a leading contender for future rounds of KC-46A placement.
  • $25 million in new funding to establish Special Victims Counsels (SVC) for each branch of the military.  These funds will ensure that every victim of sexual assault, regardless of branch of service, will have a specially trained military lawyer to represent them.  Legislation authored by Senator Murray and passed in the NDAA created the requirement for SVC programs in each military service.

Early Childhood Education

  • $8.6 billion for Head Start,which provides an increase of more than $1 billion.
    • $500 million for expansion of Early Head Start

  • $2.36 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which provides child care assistance to low-income working families. This is an $154,442 increase over fiscal year 2013.

    Transportation and Infrastructure

    As Chair of the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray was able to secure funding for the following transportation priorities nationwide and in Washington state:

    Transportation

    • Policies in response to the Skagit River Bridge Collapse:
      • In light of the Skagit River Bridge collapse, the agreement includes a requirement for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a survey on the permitting of oversize loads.  The agreement directs GAO to conduct a survey of the state departments of transportation and their treatment of oversize loads, including their permitting process and oversight regime.  This report will offer recommendations and best practices, and address the appropriate role of the Federal and state governments. 
      • The agreement also includes a requirements regarding bridge height signage.  The collapse of the bridge raised questions about the height of the truck that struck the bridge and what the truck driver knew about the height of the bridge.  The agreement directs the Federal Highway Administration to reevaluate Federal and State requirements for marking bridge height, including standards related to the position and design of such signs and the enforcement of such standards, and issue a report detailing its findings.

    • $65 million for the Columbia River Crossing project, a clear indication of the ongoing federal commitment to the project. This funding represents the first installment of a multi-year commitment of up to $850 million that will follow when the Federal Transit Administration successfully completes a funding grant agreement with the states of Washington and Oregon or one state.

    • $110 million, the full funding amount, for Sound Transit’s University Link project, which would have faced a reduction had Sequestration remained in place.

    • $140 million to fully fund the contract tower program, which was faced significant cuts under sequestration.  In FY13, Olympia, Renton, Felts Field, Tacoma Narrows, and Yakima towers in Washington state were threatened with closure due to sequestration cuts.  In addition, the omnibus protects the funding for contract towers from such cuts during FY 14.

    • $5 million to establish a center of excellence for alternative jet fuel research at Washington State University.  The Center of Excellence in Alternative Jet-Fuel Research in Civil Aircraft will build on Washington state’s proud history as a global leader in the aviation industry and in research and development of renewable energy sources.

    • $7.3 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Organization, and $1.2 billion for its Aviation Safety organization (fully funding the Administration’s budget request for both organizations), allowing the FAA to end the hiring freeze made necessary by sequestration.  In FY13, the FAA was forced to furlough air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors and unable to hire new employees necessary to maintain its workforce.  FAA furloughs led to significant flight delays across the country, until Congress intervened to end the furloughs.

    • $600 million, for the TIGER program, $126 million more than the FY13 level under sequestration.  Eligible projects include transportation investments that improve safety, such as projects to repair existing—or build new—bridge infrastructure. In FY13, Sound Transit received two TIGER grants that totaled $24 million.  One grant will help fund the addition of new HOV lanes across Lake Washington on I-90, and the will help fund the replacement of the Tacoma trestle bridge that Sounder and Amtrak trains rely on in downtown Tacoma.

    • $41 billion for the Federal-aid Highway program, honoring the funding level authorized in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  This funding level provides an increase of $636 million above FY13’s level under sequestration. This funding includes $609 million for Washington state.

    • $8.595 billion in transit formula funding, an increase in $134 million over the FY 2013 level under sequestration. This funding includes $227 million for Washington state.

    • Pipeline safety: the series of tragic pipeline accidents in 2010-2012 has been an unfortunate reminder that challenges to pipeline safety persist and are mounting due to the risk posed by breakdowns in aging pipelines, the vulnerability of certain pipeline material and the substantial growth in pipeline infrastructure transporting newly identified energy sources. 
      • The conference agreement provides $119 million for PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety function which will allow the agency to hire 10 new pipeline safety inspectors as authorized in the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-90).  The additional inspectors will strengthen the capacity of PHMSA to identify problem pipelines.  
      • An additional $5.4 million is also provided for research and development activities.  These funds will assist with the technological advancement of inline inspection devices capable of inspecting older pipelines, as well as with identifying and mitigating material weaknesses before the pipeline fails.
    • $184.5 million for Federal Railroad Administration’s Safety and Operations: The conference agreement fully funds the Administration’s request of $184.5 million for Federal Railroad Administration’s Safety and Operations functions providing an increase of $15 million from FY2013 including sequestration. These funds will reverse the harmful cuts to the FRA’s safety program as a result of sequestration and provide an increase of $6.2 million to hire 15 additional highly-trained safety inspectors to implement positive train control systems, to conduct infrastructure inspections and to manage oversight of compliance with workplace safety

     -------------------------------------------

    Infrastructure

    • $40 million for small, remote or subsistence ports and harbors. This Army Corps funding, above the President’s budget request, is designated specifically for navigation maintenance of small, remote or subsistence ports and harbors like the Ports of Ilwaco, Chinook, Quillayute, Kenmore, and others that have dredging and channel maintenance needs but have been underfunded or completely left out of the President’s budget request. 
    • Language supporting new Army Corps projects.  This bill includes key provisions supporting new General Investigation studies and Construction projects, which were included in the President’s budget request.  This will allow two Washington projects to compete to move forward, including a General Investigation study for the deepening of the Seattle Harbor and a repair and rehabilitation project on the jetties at the Mount of the Columbia River.
    • Army Corps of Engineers funding above the President’s budget request. This Army Corps funding will assist numerous projects in Washington and across the nation that are currently underway but were not included or are inadequately funded in the President’s budget request.  This will help ensure local communities have the resources they need to build and maintain critical infrastructure and grow their economies.
      • $41.1 million for General Investigations
      • $437.4 million for General Construction
      • $270.7 million for Operation & Maintenance

    Hanford and Energy Initiatives

    • $2.15 billion for nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford
      • $941 million for Richland Operations, an increase of $19.2 million above the President’s FY 2014 budget request and $65 million above the FY 2013 level under sequestration.
      • $1.2B for Office of River Protection, an increase of $121.2 million over the FY 2013 level under sequestration.
      • In November of 2013, DOE authorized up to 350 layoffs that were a direct result of budget constraints, including sequestration cuts. Due to the budget deal, forced layoffs have not occurred and these funding levels could prevent or lessen negative impacts at Hanford.
    • $462 million in DHS Science and Technology: Research, Development, and Innovation program. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) receives funding from this program.

    • $5.07 billion for DOE’s Office of Science, including $610 million for Biological & Environmental Research (BER).  BER provides funding to ensure the operation of our national labs, including PNNL, and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL which supports 722 users.
    • Language supporting the development of alternative fuels. This bill includes a key provision to ensure that the Departments of Energy, Defense and Agriculture can continue to invest in advanced alternative fuel sources.  This will ensure that the military has the flexibility in fuel sources it needs and will help foster commercial development of alternative fuels. 

    Environment and Natural Resources

    • $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, representing an increase of $15 million about President Obama’s proposed FY14 budget request in order to support state, local, and tribal programs that help improve salmon habitat. 
      • PCSRF was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats and supports conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon species across the rivers, watersheds, and coastal habitats of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and California
      • States and Tribes have undertaken more than 10,000 projects since PCSRF was created, resulting in improvements to habitat condition and availability.
    • $25 million for Puget Sound under the EPA’s Geographic Programs, an increase of almost $8 million above the President’s Budget Request in order implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda to continue efforts to restore the Puget Sound ecosystem.
      • Puget Sound is an economic driver in Washington state, and the Sound’s recovery, protection, and cleanup are funded through the Geographic Programs account in EPA.
      • This funding provides federal leadership and supports implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda, a coordinated plan to recover, restore, and protect the Puget Sound watershed and relying on the coordinated efforts of tribal, business, nonprofit, local government and state agencies.
      • The environmental and economic future of Washington state is closely tied to the health of Puget Sound, and this money will help continue those efforts as well as support the recovery of several Endangered Species Act-listed salmon species. 
    • $35 million for Legacy Roads and Trails to address decaying roads on federal forest lands: Under the President’s Budget Request, Legacy Roads and Trails were combined into Integrated Resources and Restoration.
      • This program plays an important role in protecting water quality in our upper watersheds.
      • Fish and wildlife habitat restoration is a critical benefit and LRT’s road decommissions reconnect habitat, reduce road sediment in streams, and improve passage of fish to additional habitat.
      • LRT dollars provide environmental and economic benefits in rural areas.
      • Ongoing Washington projects in several National Forests, including Olympic and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie can be completed using these funds.
    • $306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)to protect some of America’s most treasured landscapes, enhance recreational opportunities, and support local economies.
      • LWCF dollars have been used in projects across Washington state, and with funding this year acquisitions can be made in the Washington Cascades-Yakima River Watershed.
      • In the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the creation of LWCF, continued funding demonstrates the lasting importance it plays in our national landscape.
      • Land and water conservation has traditionally enjoyed broad, bipartisan support and funds have been used to acquire land, improve access for hunters and anglers, and support rural economies across the country

    Homeland Security

    • Language banning the practice of “shackling” pregnant women detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This language is very similar to the amendment offered by Senator Murray during debate of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
      • Official language included in the bill: “ICE is also expected to ensure all detention contracts and agreements implement the Use of Force exception for all pregnant women in ICE detention.”
    • $10 million for construction of 4 Response Boat Mediums (RBMs) for the U.S. Coast Guard: These boats are built by Kvichak in Washington state, and Marinette in Michigan, and will be the final built in the USCG’s acquisition, which totals 174.  Each of these boats were built by Kvichak and Marinette. Senator Murray has fought for funding each year of this acquisition program, now totaling more than $400 million since 2005.
    • $120 million for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter program, which provides grants to local non-profit and governmental organizations in over 2,500 counties and cities, delivering critical assistance to communities serving thousands of homeless Americans.
      • In FY13, under sequestration, this program was funded at $120 million, and would have faced $6 million in additional cuts if sequestration had extended in to FY14

     Agriculture Appropriations

    • $1.12B in Agricultural Research Service program and $772.6M in National Institute of Food and Agriculture research and education activities.  This funding will support critical research projects nationwide including a wide range of Washington agricultural goods, such as legumes, wine grapes, organic foods, and berries, and help Washington state farmers stay competitive in the global marketplace.

    • $1.35M for potato research that will develop and commercialize new potato varieties that will result in improved product quality, increased yields and a decrease in input requirements.  Potatoes are a valuable portion of the Pacific Northwest agricultural economy.  This research will result in sustainable production for growers, increased competitiveness for the Northwest and U.S. potato industries, and a healthy food product for American consumers.  **Funding for this research was not included in the House Appropriations bill**

    • $1.35M for the Alfalfa and Forage Research Program, funding which was first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.  This funding will support research into alfalfa and forage which could increase alfalfa and forage yields, increase milk production, and improve forage genetics to increase biomass for the production of advanced biofuels.  Alfalfa and forage is consistently one of the top commodities in Washington in terms of production value.  **Funding for this research was not included in the House Appropriations bill**

    • $6.7 billion Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which will serve approximately 8.7 million participants nationally each month.

     Providing Housing and Services to our Nation’s Most Vulnerable

    As Chair of the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murray was able to reverse many of the devastating cuts from sequestration, which put families at risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless. Specifically, Senator Murray was able to secure:

    • $19.2 billion for Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance which provides housing for 2.2 million low-income Americans, many of whom are elderly, disabled or veterans.  Of this amount, $17.365 billion is for the renewal of existing vouchers, an increase of $1 billion from sequester levels. If funding had remained at the sequester level, it is estimated that over 100,000 families would be at risk of losing assistance and becoming homeless.
      • $1.5 billion for public housing authorities (PHAs) to manage and oversee their vouchers programs, an increase of $195 million over the CR level.
      • $75 million for HUD-Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) to provide housing for 10,000 homeless veterans.  HUD-VASH has been a critical tool in the effort to end homelessness among veterans, which has declined by 24 percent since 2010.

    • $9.9 billion for Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA).  PRBA provides rental assistance for 1.23 million very low income households, 65% of which are elderly or disabled.  Under another year of sequester, this program would have received $8.9 billion.  Funding PRBA at this level could result in some affordable housing projects converting to market rates, with large rent increases that many existing tenants would be unable to afford.  Under the Omnibus agreement, $9.9 billion is provided for contract renewals and amendments – a level of investment that is sufficient for HUD to maintain the current affordable housing portfolio.

    • $6.3 billion for public housing, which represents an increase of $444 million above the 2013 sequester level.  It includes $1.875 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund and $4.4 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.  These funds will help PHAs make essential repairs and maintain services for families.  The bill also includes funding for the Jobs-Plus initiative to help residents find jobs and increase their incomes.

    • $2.1 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, which represents an increase of $172 million above the sequester level.  This funding will ensure that homeless providers can continue to operate shelters and supportive housing programs in communities across the country.  The bill also includes increased funding for homelessness prevention and rapid-re-housing, which has been successful in helping to reduce the number of homeless families.  Investments in proven homeless programs are having measurable results.  A recent report by HUD based upon an annual count of homeless people living on the streets or in shelters showed a 6.1 percent reduction in homelessness since 2010.