U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement regarding the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations measure:
“This legislation is far from perfect, but it reflects our best efforts to fund the priorities of the American people. I am encouraged that Congress was able to reverse some of the President’s proposed cuts to key programs. I was also able to help secure funding for key South Sound initiatives in this legislation,” Smith said.
Overall, the legislation approved by the House makes significant improvements to the President’s budget request. The legislation reverses proposed cuts to essential programs, including:
- $1.8 billion for Homeland Security grants, recognizing that fighting terrorism must be a top priority.
- $1.7 billion for Pell Grants and other student aid programs.
- $1.2 billion for state and local law enforcement.
- $1 billion for health care access, including increases to programs like Community Health Centers to provide 280,000 more underinsured Americans with access to health care and High Risk Insurance Pools to help 200,000 more people afford health insurance.
- $767 million for K-12 education, including funds for Title 1, Special Education, Teacher Quality Grants, After School Programs, and Head Start.
- $575 million for technical training at high schools and community colleges.
- $486 million for energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources, including solar energy, wind energy, and biofuels.
A list of South Sound projects funded in the omnibus bill can be found at http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/news/2008earmarks/earmarklist.shtml.