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Newhouse Statement on House Approval of Funding for Hanford, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

September 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statements on House passage of the “minibus,” Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895, Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. The Senate approved the conference legislation earlier this week.

“This vital legislation provides funds for our national defense and for the needs of our veterans,” said Rep Newhouse. “It keeps Hanford cleanup on strong footing, ensuring that the federal government continues its legal and moral obligation to the people of the Mid-Columbia. The minibus funds programs at our National Labs, and while the Senate provided a smaller number than the House for Energy Sciences Capability construction, this bill provides necessary resources for researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.”

“Despite the many benefits of fully-functioning dams on the Lower Snake River and science that shows increased dam spill actually harms juvenile salmon, I am disappointed that the Senate failed to keep House-approved language I worked on to end the unnecessary spill order. Imposed by a single federal judge, who substituted his own opinion over the collaborative scientific expertise of a multitude of stakeholders who agreed to the 2014 Biological Opinion governing dam operations, the spill order increases costs while harming salmon. The federal government is responsible for effective management of the Federal Columbia River Power System, on which the livelihoods of so many Mid-Columbia residents depend, and the harmful ad hoc decision by a judge demands action by Congress. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to address the damaging spill in order to keep our dams functioning effectively. I am pleased that the conference report expressed grave concerns, which I share, about this judicial interference that has no scientific backing and threatens the reliability of the federal power and transmission systems. The conference report also makes clear that no funds for federal dam removal are included in this act.”

On Monday, Rep. Newhouse participated in a House Natural Resources Committee field hearing in Pasco, WA titled, "The Federal Columbia River Power System: The Economic Lifeblood & Way of Life for the Pacific Northwest."

Legislation highlights:

Energy and Water Appropriations –

  • Supports a strong nuclear national security strategy with a total of $15.23 billion for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons security programs, including the maintenance and readiness of the nuclear stockpile and Naval nuclear reactors.
    • $2.438 billion for Hanford cleanup
      • $865.171 million for Richland Operations
      • $1.573 billion for Office of River Protection
  • Increases funding for the nation's water resources infrastructure by directing $7 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers, an increase of $172 million, which will boost navigation and flood control improvements.
  • Promotes economic competitiveness and energy independence by including $13.5 billion for energy programs, including protecting the safety of the nation’s electrical grid and investments in fossil and nuclear energy research.
    • $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, a reduction of $16 million from the House version.

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations:

  • Includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs – $86.5 billion discretionary funding – an increase of $5 billion. This includes funds for new and expanded Mission Act programs, increases in mental health services, modernizing the VA’s health records system, and addressing the claims backlog.
  • Provides resources for improved infrastructure for our service members and their families – $10.3 billion for military construction projects, an increase of $241 million, including:
    • Upgrades to infrastructure for deterrence operations and unique training requirements to counter challenges posed by Russia and threats from the Middle East and Africa;
    • Increases for infrastructure and facilities construction and improvements on U.S. military bases; and
    • Housing for all 1,400,000 military families currently served.

Legislative Branch Appropriations:

  • Bolsters the safety and security of the Capitol Complex for Members, staff, and the thousands of guests who visit every day by increasing funds for the Capitol Police and security infrastructure improvements.
  • Provides funding for the Office of Employee Advocacy, which provides legal consultation, representation, and assistance on allegations, claims, and complaints under the Congressional Accountability Act.
  • Opens the door for Congressional service to students and young people of all economic backgrounds by dedicating funds for paid internships.
  • Continues the Member of Congress pay freeze.

For more detailed information on each of these bills, please visit: https://appropriations.house.gov/legislation/