Washington— Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today expressed support for the omnibus spending bill that funds the federal government through fiscal year 2015. The bill, which has now been passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, will go to the president’s desk for signature.
Senator Feinstein released the following statement:
“Legislating is about the art of the possible and compromise. So while I did not support everything in this spending bill, I recognized it is the result of long, difficult and bipartisan negotiations. It is not the bill I would have written, and I am disappointed that important priorities I care about were not included and other provisions I strongly oppose were. However, on the whole I believe it is important that this got done to provide budgetary certainty for the federal government.
“This bill included smart investments in California’s future, such as modernizing our transportation infrastructure, supporting California’s veterans and pursuing projects to address the state’s historic drought. I’m glad California’s priorities were included.
“I also want to commend Chairwoman Mikulski for her fortitude and perseverance in negotiating this final bill in the face of many obstacles. Thanks to the efforts of her and her staff, we are able to avoid the detrimental cycle of continuing resolutions and begin to get the budgeting process in Congress back to normal.”
“While I supported the bill as a whole, I strongly opposed the provisions that roll back critical Dodd-Frank taxpayer protections and dramatically expand limits to campaign contribution to political party committees. The historic Dodd-Frank legislation created a much-needed national regulatory regime for the derivatives market for the first time. Four years ago, I was proud to fight hard and pass that legislation, allowing us to protect taxpayers from further bank bailouts But now I am appalled that we are again opening the door to the trading of risky derivatives backed by a taxpayer guarantee.
“Furthermore, it is disturbing that such a major revision was included in a must-pass funding bill. Any changes to our strong regulatory regime deserve a robust congressional debate. If we had one, I am confident it would have been made clear to my colleagues and to the American public that this pulls us in the wrong direction and that it is simply way too dangerous to pursue.
“We cannot subject our country to the same lax financial regulation that almost brought down our financial system in 2008, and our constituents do not deserve to again shoulder the burden of unnecessary risk.”
Energy and Water:
“As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, I am proud that the bill funds essential federal activities at the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. However, I was deeply disappointed that a pilot nuclear waste program I authored with Senator Alexander was not included. The dangers posed by unsecured nuclear waste are simply too high to ignore any longer.”
Key projects and provisions for California:
- $50 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the drought in California and other western states, through direct, immediate actions to extend limited water supplies, within existing authorization.
- $500 million for four major public transit projects:
- $100 million for Los Angeles’ Purple Line Subway, for the first of a three phase expansion to connect Union Station to Westwood and the West Los Angeles VA campus.
- $100 million for Los Angeles’ Regional Connector, a two-mile underground project connecting the Gold and Blue subway lines.
- $150 million for San Francisco’s Third Street Light Rail/Central Subway, a project to connect Bayshore in the south to Chinatown in the north.
- $150 million for the BART extension to Silicon Valley, a 10.15-mile project to extend BART from Fremont to Berryessa Road in San Jose.
- $324 million for Veterans Affairs construction projects in California. This includes funds to retrofit seismically-unsafe Veterans Affairs facilities in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego as well as adding additional homeless veteran housing at the West Los Angeles campus.
- $315 million for the expansion and modernization of the San Ysidro and Calexico Land Ports of Entry along California’s border with Mexico. This funding will finish construction at San Ysidro and pay for the first of two phases at Calexico. These projects will allow more efficient and secure processing of travelers, thereby increasing tourism and facilitating economic growth.
- $5 million to develop a West Coast earthquake early warning system. This initiative will help save lives, reduce property damage and protect critical infrastructure.
- $30.5 million increase for Food and Drug Administration to ensure that Californians have access to safe food, including a $27.5 million increase to implement new food safety standards for produce, imported foods, and animal feed as well as a $3 million increase for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System to track drug-resistant foodborne pathogens.
- A one-year extension of a temporary judgeship in Los Angeles to ensure that Californians have timely access to the judicial system in California’s Central District, the tenth-busiest in the nation.
Key provisions Feinstein successfully opposed:
- House-backed policy riders that would have crippled California’s High Speed Rail project.
- House-backed policy riders that would have further weakened enforcement of federal gun laws, particularly along the Mexican border.
- House-backed policy riders that would have significantly impeded federal regulation of carbon emissions from power plants.
Feinstein expressed disappointment that the omnibus contained provisions to weaken truck safety regulations, providing waivers for larger trucks in three states and suspending an essential component of the anti-driver-fatigue rules. Feinstein opposed this change to the truck driver fatigue rules, known as hours-of-service, when it was first offered in the Appropriations Committee by Senator Collins. She was also prepared to offer a floor amendment with Senator Booker to reverse this change and keep the current hours of service rules in effect if the transportation section of the omnibus had been considered independently.