Issue 293��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� December 18, 2007


In this issue:

Omnibus spending bill increases Corps funding as Congress attempts to conclude FY2008 appropriations work this week

 

 

Omnibus spending bill increases Corps funding as Congress attempts to conclude FY2008 appropriations work this week


Last night, the House successfully passed (253-154) an omnibus package (H.R.2764) that includes FY2008 funding for the agencies who have not yet received their yearly spending packages.The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to be amended.It will then need to be re-approved by the House before being sent to the President to potentially be signed into law.Since the beginning of the FY2008 federal fiscal year on October 1st, the agencies have been operating under continuing resolutions (CRs).The most recent CR expires this Friday, December 21st.

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There has been a great deal of conflict between the Administration and Congress over whether and how much Congress should exceed the spending levels suggested in the President�s budget, which was released in early February.For several months, the President has threatened to veto any spending measure that exceeded the amounts outlined in his budget.Congress is expected to complete work this week on the compromise omnibus bill that boosts funding for particular agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but still comports with the overall budget level proposed by the President in February.The omnibus retains most earmarks included by Congress in the House and Senate appropriations bills that were developed over the past ten months.However, an across the board rescission is applied to nearly all projects, both budgeted and earmarks, in order to hold the line on overall spending levels.

 

PNWA has obtained the project tables for the Corps of Engineers that are included in the omnibus.Overall, navigation and environmental restoration projects supported by PNWA fared well in this compromise bill, and several of our projects received substantial funding boosts despite the difficult spending climate.Projects receiving increases over the amounts proposed in the President�s budget include:

 

         Columbia River at the Mouth (MCR), including the Columbia River Jetties

         Coos Bay navigation channel and jetties at the Port of Coos Bay

         Tillamook Bay & Bar navigation channel and jetties at the Port of Garibaldi

         Siuslaw River navigation channel and jetties at the Port of Siuslaw

         Yaquina River navigation channel at the Port of Toledo

         Umpqua River navigation channel at the Port of Umpqua

         Swinomish Channel at the Port of Skagit County

         Columbia River at Baker Bay navigation channel at the Port of Ilwaco

         Columbia River b/t Chinook & Sand Island navigation channel at the Port of Chinook

         Elliott Bay Seawall at the Port of Seattle

         Lower Columbia River ecosystem restoration

         Lake Washington Ship Canal restoration study

 

PNWA is in contact with local Corps district offices to ascertain whether the across the board rescission will have severe negative impacts on project operations and maintenance.We are cautiously optimistic that the funding levels for all PNWA-supported projects will be adequate to maintain navigation in the Northwest for the remainder of the FY2008 fiscal year.For the Corps funding tables and language in the omnibus, as well as an updated version of PNWA�s FY2008 Energy & Water appropriations document, please visit www.pnwa.net and click on �2008 Energy & Water Appropriations�.

 

The Northwest Congressional delegation is to be commended for their diligence in protecting Northwest projects throughout this challenging appropriations process.PNWA�s members are especially grateful for the leadership demonstrated by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D, OR-4) in securing funding for Northwest navigation projects that were overlooked in the Administration�s budget.

 

PNWA supports continued investment in the development and maintenance of the federal navigation projects that support international trade and regional economic development.More than 60 million tons of cargo, worth $36 billion, moves in international trade across the docks of Oregon and Washington ports.The Puget Sound and Columbia River gateways are some of the largest in the country for containers; wheat, barley and corn exports; and automobile imports.Barging on the Columbia Snake River system carries approximately 12 million tons of cargo worth $2-2.5 billion annually, and feeds 50% of the wheat exports and 20% of the containers handled at Lower Columbia River ports. Oregon and Washington coastal ports are home to fishing fleets, marinas and significant commercial and recreational facilities, and are critical to the economic survival of their communities.

 

PNWA Staff Contact: Kristin Meira

 

 


Pacific Northwest Waterways Association                                          www.pnwa.net

 

 

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