Herrera Beutler supports more money for tsunami debris cleanup

Following Gov. Chris Gregoire’s press conference yesterday about federal aid needed for Japanese tsunami debris cleanup on Washington beaches, one reader asked what Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has to say on the subject.

Herrera Beutler, a Republican U.S. representative from Camas, issued a statement on Monday asking the U.S. Senate to approve an appropriations bill that includes marine debris program funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The bill, which passed out of the House on May 10 with a vote of 247-163, would appropriate $51.1 billion to the country’s Justice and Commerce departments, as well as various science agencies. That $51.1 billion for the 2013 fiscal year is a 3 percent spending reduction when compared to 2012.

However, the bill included an amendment to increase NOAA’s Marine Debris Program funding by $1.6 million, according to Herrera Beutler’s office. The congresswoman voted in favor of the amendment, which she said is deficit neutral.

“It’s critical cleanup agencies have the tools they need to protect our coasts,” Herrera Beutler said in the statement. Her statement also urged the Senate to follow the House’s example and “pass legislation that provides resources to protect our shore.”

Herrera Beutler also said that she will participate in debris cleanup on July 5 in Pacific County.

The House bill (H.R. 5326) is called the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The Senate introduced its version a similar appropriations bill in April, but senators have yet to vote on the $51.8 billion proposal. S. 2323 — named the Commerce, Justice and Science Act — would reduce NOAA spending by $1.47 billion, but bill writers say that reduction would not effect local weather forecasting staff, the tsunami warning network, or other programs that impact local communities.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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