Deliver wins for central Washington
As a Congressman for Washington’s 4and Congressional District, my number one priority is to advocate for the people who live and work here in central Washington, contributing to our communities and our economy. This is why, last week, I voted in favor of the Consolidated Credits Act. This legislation not only addresses many of Central Washington’s top priorities, but preserves longstanding conservative principles and takes important steps to strengthen our national security.
Decisions about the needs of our communities should be made at the local level, by the men and women who live, work and farm on our lands, not by DC government bureaucrats who have never even heard of the Yakima Valley. That’s why I created the Central Washington Community Project Funding Advisory Council last year, made up of representatives from every county and tribal leaders from all 4 Washington states.and Congressional District. These leaders selected applications for community project funding that had the most public engagement and support. Thanks to the work of these representatives, 7 major projects were financed in the Consolidated Credits Actfrom major water infrastructure projects, such as the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program, to essential rural healthcare programs and facilities.
This legislation also provides crucial funding for the Hanford site, a major step up from President Biden’s original budget request, which completely eliminated payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILT) funding for communities surrounding the site. . These LTIP payments are vital sources of funding and serve as a lifeline for rural central Washington communities with tax-free federal land. Without this support, our rural communities would face devastating budget shortfalls as they juggle planning and paying for basic services like public safety, firefighting, social services, public education and transport with a reduced local tax base. It is inexcusable that our President is trying to renege on the federal government’s obligation to the Hanford site and its surrounding communities, and I am glad I was able to insert this much-needed assistance back into the appropriations package.
The law project however, goes well beyond infrastructure. This contains many others Central Washington priorities that I worked on, such as my legislation to improve health care access and outcomes for new mothers and pregnant women in rural communities, HR 769, the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Management Strategies (MOMS) Act. It is also making great strides in supporting agricultural research. Washington State has one of the most diverse agricultural industries in the country and we are recognized around the world as one of the leading producers of specialty crops, but that requires constant innovation and research. From ppotatoes, berries, and hop, for barley, alfalfa and wheat, this package takes important steps to seek innovative solutions to some of the problems facing our producers who are already struggling due to supply chain disruptions and lack of inputs. This is funding important studies to combat little cherry disease (LCD), which has devastated orchards in central Washington, and to better understand how to manage the smell of smoke, which poses a huge threat to our wine industry in central Washington and local economies. Together, this research funding will go a long way to ensuring that the Washington center remains a leader in agriculture.
This package also takes important steps to strengthen our national security. While Democrats proposed $1.9 billion cuts to funding for the existing border wall, which is critical to securing our southern border, Republicans were able to retain this crucial funding and secure a nearly 11% increase for the Department of Homeland Security to deal with the crisis current border. The legislation includes my amendment to prevent our adversaries, such as China, from gaining a foothold in our food supply chain by preventing Chinese nationals from buying US farmland. Finally, this package provides significant funding to Ukraine to help it fight its Russian aggressors, maintain its democracy and work for global stability.
I could go on and on about the victories contained in this package, but the bottom line remains: It was an important vote that resulted in major priorities for central Washington. It is an honor to serve the men and women of Central Washington, and I pledge to continue to champion and secure their priorities through my role on the Appropriations Committee.