March 22, 2018

Kilmer Statement on Bipartisan Spending Plan

Today, the leaders of Congress unveiled a major plan to fund the government through September. US Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) issued the following statement:

“No compromise is ever perfect, but I voted for this bipartisan spending plan because there are important investments for folks in our necks of the woods and because our country has to stop lurching from crisis to crisis,” Rep. Derek Kilmer said. “There are families that have been ravaged by the scourge of opioids who will benefit from the funding this bill dedicates to combatting the opioid crisis.  There are people on the Olympic Peninsula who will have a better shot economically as a result of funding for fighting wildfires, funding for rural schools and rural broadband. There are tens of thousands of servicemembers and defense workers in our region who have asked for an end to furloughs and chaos, and this bill finally gives them certainty. This bill will provide help to fishermen in Westport who are wondering if they can fish for another season, or if they need to put a for sale sign on their boats because of repeated natural disasters. Families in our region and local businesses that depend on clean water will benefit from funding to keep the Puget Sound clean and healthy. This bill invests in folks who work in our forests, so that our timber industry can innovate and find new ways to compete in the global economy. And it takes the first step forward to making sure that America’s elections are free from foreign influence and dark money. This bill gives Congress time to work on the rest of our nation’s most pressing challenges. I hope the bipartisan cooperation that produced this bill will translate into bipartisan action that gives certainty to Dreamers.”


FEC Report Language on Foreign Donations

The spending plan includes language asking the FEC to report on its ability to enforce campaign finance regulations concerning the influence of foreign funds in America’s elections. A report is the first step of creating a road map to address this issue.

NOAA Grants for Coastal Communities

The deal includes $75 million for NOAA Coastal Management Grants and $30 million for NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grants. These funds help rural communities on the coast counter rising sea levels and tsunami threats. More here.

Forestry Funds and Timber Investments

The bill includes more than $33.9 million in funding for the Stennis Cooperative Forestry program.

It includes $1.8 billion in wastewater infrastructure funds. More on Kilmer’s work to make this a priority here.

The bill includes language focused on expanding the use of Cross Laminated Timber and other innovative wood products in military construction.

STOP School Violence Act

The deal includes legislation that Kilmer co-introduced called The STOP School Violence Act. The legislation would boost school efforts to develop violence prevention programs and coordinate with law enforcement to improve school safety. It would create a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement how to identify and intervene early when signs of violence arise and create a coordinated reporting system when threatening signs are noticed. Kilmer co-introduced the bipartisan legislation with Rep. Ted Deutch, who represents the Parkland, Florida community, and Representatives John Rutherford (R-FL) and Hal Rogers (R-KY). The House passed the bill on March 14th.

Puget Sound Funding

The funding bill contains $28 million in funding for efforts to keep the Puget Sound healthy. Kilmer worked with Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) as co-chairs of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus to advocate for these funds

Wildfire Borrowing

The deal includes funding for a dedicated account to help the Forest Service pay for fighting wildfires. Under current law, the response to wildfires is paid out of the US Forest Service’s budget, which hinders the Service’s ability to prevent fires and manage the nation’s forests. Kilmer has advocated for a solution to this problem for years.

Election Security

The legislation provides $380 million in technology grants for states to create a stronger cybersecurity defense. Kilmer is the co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Cybersecurity Task Force. He introduced legislation to fund FEMA grants for states to build their cyber defenses.

Rural Broadband

The bill invests $2 billion additional funds in rural broadband. Kilmer has called for more investments in rural broadband which will help unlock new opportunities, particularly for tribal communities and small businesses.

SRS Reauthorization

The bill reauthorizes the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Kilmer recently joined local leaders in calling for the extension of SRS, which helps communities where the federal government owns large tracts of land offset the tax revenue lost due to non-taxable lands.                                                                          

Tribal Set Aside in Justice

The bill includes a 3 percent set-aside for tribal justice programs funded through the Department of Justice. The purpose of the set-aside is to ensure funding for tribal programs grows according to the scale of the Department of Justice’s overall budget. Historically the amount has been fixed at a specific number, meaning that funding has not grown when the overall Department of Justice’s budget has increased.

Trade Enforcement

The plan includes $15 million for the Department of the Treasury’s Trade Enforcement Trust Fund, which will help enforce the nation’s trade laws. Kilmer recently outlined the important role foreign trade plays in creating jobs in Washington state.

Homeland Security

Provides $249.2 million for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, an increase of $149.2 million from FY17.  This funding is important to help communities in Washington and elsewhere address the threat of tsunami or earthquakes.

Elwha Water Facilities

The bill includes report language related to the NPS-Elwha Water Facilities, directing the Park Service to work with the City of Port Angeles and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to address concerns regarding the reliability of the system before moving forward with transfer of ownership.

Earthquake Early Warning System

The bill increases funding for the USGS’s early warning system that will help communities detect earthquakes and tsunamis, and potentially save lives in an incident. Funding is increased to $12.9M.

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs

The bill includes language that will help veterans better use VA loans to secure housing and address concerns regarding appraisals.

The bill includes the main parts of Kilmer’s VA Management Alignment Act, which will diagnose ways to improve the VA, and help veterans access the care they earned and deserve.

Infrastructure investments

The bill makes billions of dollars of investments that will help start projects and create jobs across the country. Kilmer has long advocated for infrastructure investments as a member of the New Democrat Coalition.