Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Senate passed a package of bills to fund several government agencies:
“The federal funding bill the Senate passed delivers big wins for California. I’m grateful to Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Leahy for including these important provisions.
“The bill addresses two of the biggest crises facing California: wildfires and homelessness. The bill increases funding by $1.2 billion to fight wildfires while also investing in forest restoration and mitigation of future fires. And the bill increases funding to battle homelessness and help build more affordable housing.
“Additionally, the bill helps our farmers remain competitive in the global market by supporting specialty crop research and reducing the threat of invasive pests. It also helps feed more people by protecting SNAP funding and expanding access to the program for college students.
“The bill safeguards California’s environment by investing in the restoration of the Salton Sea, protecting Lake Tahoe and cleaning up toxic sewage pollution along the Tijuana River.
“I’m proud to support this funding package and will continue working with my colleagues to get it signed into law.”
Senator Feinstein helped secure $5.1 billion to fight wildfires, a $1.2 billion increase over last year. The package includes $150 million to remove dead and dying trees and prioritizes projects in national forests facing significant tree mortality, like those in California.
It also instructs the federal government to use new authorities provided in last year’s farm bill to promote forest health on federal, state and private land, and continues programs that remove dead or dying trees close to homes and infrastructure, and encourages new markets for wood products to help fund dead-tree removal.
“Californians are facing the devastating effects of climate change right now. Today, several fires are threatening the lives and homes of thousands of Californians. We need to ensure our brave firefighters have all the tools and resources necessary to put out these blazes. But we also must take steps to prevent future wildfires, including expediting the removal of dead and dying trees from our forests. This bill makes both wildfire suppression and prevention and top priority.”
Senator Feinstein helped secure critical funding to combat homelessness, including $2.8 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $125 million more than last year. The bill also includes $80 million for the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program, created by Senators Feinstein and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to help communities connect young people experiencing homelessness with supportive services and housing.
“California is at the center of the homelessness crisis, but it remains a national problem. Getting more people into housing that’s paired with comprehensive health care and job services is key to solving this epidemic. That will take cooperation from every level of government. Ending homelessness must be everyone’s top priority and this bill will ensure the federal government remains a partner in that effort.”
Border Sewage Pollution
Senator Feinstein secured $25 million to address toxic cross-border sewage flows on the U.S.-Mexico border through the EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program, $10 million more than last year.
“We must do more to protect the health of San Diegans by stopping raw sewage overflows along the Tijuana River. It’s unacceptable to allow this environmental and health hazard to go unchecked. This funding will go a long way to address the problem but I’ll keep pushing for additional resources. That includes making sure this issue is a top priority for the administration in their discussions with Mexico’s leaders.”
Additional California Provisions
- Includes $5.75 million for programs to restore the San Francisco Bay, a $1.31 million increase over last year.
- Requires the Department of Agriculture to implement new drought provisions Senator Feinstein secured in last year’s farm bill to protect the Salton Sea.
- Includes $16 million, a $1 million increase over last year, to improve Lake Tahoe’s water clarity, reduce the risk of wildfires in the Tahoe Basin and combat invasive species.
- Includes $8.5 million for citrus greening research and control management techniques.
- Includes $186 million to fund efforts to protect specialty crops from invasive pests.
- Includes $1 million to improve the federal government’s ability to observe and prepare for West Coast weather storms known as “atmospheric rivers,” which are responsible for 50 percent of the annual rainfall and 90 percent of the flood events in California.
- Includes $12 million, a $4 million increase over last year, for the Department of Justice’s Anti-Meth Task Force Grants to help state law enforcement agencies combat methamphetamine trafficking and use. Senator Feinstein authored the provision to create these grants in 2014.
- Includes $1.98 billion for major transit projects, including Los Angeles’ Regional Connector and Purple Line subway projects, San Diego’s Mid-Coast Corridor rail project and San Francisco’s BART Core Capacity project.