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Jaime Herrera Beutler Fights For Salmon Recovery in Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill that Passes U.S. House
Southwest Washington priorities also included in the bill: Byrne grants for local law enforcement, anti-sex trafficking programs, veteran treatment courts
Today, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.
Today, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. As a member of the Commerce, Science, and Justice House Appropriations Subcommittee, Jaime helped author this bipartisan legislation that advances strong salmon recovery efforts, provides vital funding for local law enforcement, and spends $661 million less the President’s 2016 proposed budget.
The 2016 Commerce, Science, and Justice Appropriations bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
“Today we sent the U.S. Senate a bill that protects Southwest Washington citizens, and prioritizes the salmon population that makes our region unique," said Jaime. “In helping craft this bill, I worked to make sure taxpayer dollars were focused in places where they could make the biggest impact, while also making spending cuts where appropriate. This bill targets specific hatchery management needs, ensuring our community’s successful salmon restoration efforts can continue. It also makes sure law enforcement can confront and prevent trafficking, cyber threats, prescription drug abuse, and other threats to the safety of our community.”
Salmon recovery efforts supported in the Commerce portion of the bill:
The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) – The bill secures $65 million for PCSRF, a program that provides critical funding for recovery and sustainability projects to improve wild salmon and steelhead habitats in Pacific Northwest. As of 2012, PCSRF funding has been applied to 260 fish enhancement projects in Southwest Washington and has restored over 7,100 miles of stream on the west coast for fish passage.
The restoration work done through PCSRF in part helps secure a future for recreational fishing in Washington state – an industry that as of 2011, contributed 5,100 jobs and $247 million in income for Washington residents, generated $654 million in sales and contributed $390 million to the state’s gross domestic product.
Salmon Management Activities – It increases funding for salmon management activities at hatcheries, including 12 salmon hatcheries that are maintained in Southwest Washington. The boost in funding will help improve hatchery production and help prevent incidents like the pump failure that lead to death of more than 200,000 juvenile coho salmon at the Kalama Falls Hatchery in March.
Salmon Hatchery Compliance – The bill also secures $4 million to help hatchery operators gain approval for their hatchery programs that are submitted to the National Marine Fishery Service. There is currently an administrative backlog inhibiting hatcheries from being approved and recognized as ESA compliant, thus putting them at risk of being shut down directly impacting recreational fisheries.
Southwest Washington priorities included in the Justice portion of the bill:
Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program – The bill includes $506 million for these grants that are awarded to state and local governments and can be used for law enforcement programs; prosecution and court programs; prevention and education programs; correction programs; drug treatment and enforcement programs; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; and crime victim and witness programs.
Byrne grants provide flexibility to address local needs. In Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties, local law enforcement saw a community need and were able to use Byrne grants to help form the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force to combat illegal drug use in that region. The city of Vancouver has used Byrne funds for officer safety equipment, technology to enhance computer crime investigations, and for the Neighbors on Watch citizen patrol program.
Human Trafficking Grants – The bill includes $42.3 million for human trafficking task force activities and for services for victims. It also directs the Department of Justice to support the victim-centered approach to recognizing and responding to human trafficking.
Prescription Drug Monitoring – The bill includes $16 million for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that seeks to combat the diversion and abuse of prescription medications – the fastest growing drug problem in our nation.
FBI - Funding for the FBI is increased to carry out counterterrorism; counterintelligence; and investigation of computer intrusions, cyber threats and cybersecurity.
Veterans Treatment Courts – The bill includes $20.5 million for Veterans Treatment Courts. These are courts that understand and address the unique issues facing many veterans, and those who have come into conflict with the law. Veterans must make regular court appearances and attend treatment sessions.
Identity theft and senior citizens – The bill also takes steps to prevent and reduce tax related identity theft among vulnerable populations, including senior citizens.