Possible earmark on Washington wine grapes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Possible earmark on Washington wine grapes

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There is a fight raging between Republicans and Democrats about the number of earmarks in the trillion dollar U.S. spending bill.

One of the earmarks that has been getting a lot of national attention is nearly $300,000 for virus free grapes in Washington State. The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers worked to get the money in the bill and says it will go to Washington State University to maintain and study healthy vines. For example if a disease killed an entire crop, these grapes at WSU would be able to replace them.

Vicky Scharlau, the Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wine says, "it's one of 3 sites on a national level that provides the basic clean, virus free, disease free plant stock that is really the backbone of the entire wine and grape and juice industry in the U.S."

Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are listed as supporters of the bill. Staff from Representative Doc Hastings' office say he's undecided about the bill.