News Releases

DEFENSE/VETERANS: Murray Secures Defense Wins for Washington State in Annual Spending Bill

Jan 14 2014

Washington state wins include funding for new KC-46A tanker and P-8A Poseidon fleets

Murray also secured $149 million for a VA Mental Health Clinic in Seattle and Special Counsels for Victims of Sexual Assault

(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 to build new fleets of the KC-46A tanker P-8A Poseidon, improve facilities at Joint Base Lewis McChord for the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, and build new facilities at Naval Station Whidbey Island, the future home of the new P-8A fleet. 

As a leading advocate in the Senate for military victims of sexual assault, Senator Murray also secured funding to 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 annual defense bill created the requirement for these programs in each military service branch.

Murray, also a former Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran, also secured $149.1 million in new funding for a VA Mental Health Clinic and Research facility in Seattle.

“Ensuring that military installations across Washington state have the resources they need to stay strong and up-to-date is critical to our national defense and our state’s economy,” Senator Murray said.  “I fought hard to include funding for Joint Base Lewis McChord, Naval Station Whidbey, and Fairchild Air Force Base, and this bill allows us to continue building on our state’s proud military tradition. 

I was also proud to fight for funding to establish Special Victims Counsels for each branch of the military. This funding gets to the heart of effectively addressing the tragic epidemic of sexual assault in our military.  This is a great step forward, but there is more work to do and I will continue fighting on behalf of our nation’s heroes of the past, present, and future.

“As the daughter of a World War II veteran who relied heavily on VA support, funding for VA hospitals and research facilities is an extremely personal issue for me, and I’m thrilled that we were able to secure funding to complete a new VA Mental Health Clinic and Research facility for Seattle.  This facility will give veterans’ easier access to quality care and research new treatments to care for the next generation of veterans.”

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

  • $153.1 million for construction and facilities improvements at Joint Base Lewis McChord: 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.
  • $149.1 million in new funding to complete a VA Mental Health Clinic and Research facility in Seattle

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 $987 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.