Senate passes package with investments for vets, Hanford, PNNL, and WA families

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that Congress has come together to reject President Trump’s proposed cuts to a number of Washington state priorities, including scientific research at the Pacific Northwest National Lab and nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford.

Additionally, the legislation includes solid investments in military construction and veterans programs, including $865 million for VA’s Caregiver Support Program, something Senator Murray has long championed and recently fought to successfully expand to include veterans of all eras.

The bipartisan spending deal passed the Senate 92-5 and now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for final passage, and then to the president’s desk.

“Once again, we were able to work across the aisle to reject misguided efforts to strip critically important investments from communities in Washington state,” Senator Murray said. “This is so important because the federal government has an obligation to the families, veterans, and workers in our state, which is why I will never back down fighting for our priorities whether it’s cleaning up Hanford, making sure the Army Corps has the resources it needs to carry out important projects, or providing services to the hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families who call Washington state home.”

Additionally, Senator Murray praised the spending package for preventing President Trump’s proposal to privatize portions of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and for keeping politics out of Columbia River system operations by rejecting attempts to interfere with the ongoing court-mandated comprehensive review. (See Senator Murray’s full statement on the Columbia River system operations HERE.)

Highlights of the legislation below:

  • $2.438 billion for nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford
    • $865.171 million for Richland Operations, $207 million more than the President’s budget proposal
    • $1.573 billion for Office of River Protection, $135 million more than President’s budget proposal
  • $6.585 billion for Department of Energy’s Office of Science, supports 10 national laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) ($1.195 billion more than the President’s budget proposal)
    • $705 million for Biological and Environmental Research, supports the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and Atmospheric Radiation Measurement User Facility at PNNL. These scientific user facilities provide access to unique, state of the art equipment for more than 1,800 users annually.
    • $24 million for the Energy Sciences Capability, supports a construction project at PNNL to provide modern lab space and equipment for chemistry and materials science research and development
  • $156 million for Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and $120 million for Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, supports research and development at PNNL, Washington State University (WSU), utilities, and industry in the Northwest
  • $2.379 billion for Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, ($1.683 billion more than the President’s budget proposal); supports research and development efforts at PNNL, WSU, University of Washington, and more
  • $6.999 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ($2.214 billion more than the President’s budget proposal)
    • $54 million to support small ports, supports the Ports of Bellingham, Ilwaco, Chinook, Ridgefield, Skagit, Willapa Harbor, and more
    • $50 million to support donor and energy transfer ports, supports the Northwest Seaport Alliance
    • $6 million to help combat invasive species in the Columbia River Basin through watercraft inspection stations, rapid response, and monitoring
  • $8.62 billion for VA mental health services, including suicide prevention
  • $865 million for VA’s Caregiver Support Program
  • Expanding and extending VA’s child care pilot program
  • Authorizing VA to provide IVF and other assisted reproductive technology support to veterans and their spouses
  • $17 million for the VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Program to help provide holistic services and support for veterans experiencing domestic and intimate partner violence
  • $165.6 million for increased investments in military bases around Washington state, including, but not limited to:       
    • $89 million for pier maintenance at Naval Base Kitsap
    • $26 million for Refueling Facility at Joint Base Lewis McChord
    • $19 million for Fleet Support Facility at Whidbey Island
    • $8 million for Whidbey Island Next Generation Jammer Facility

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