New bipartisan budget deal, signed into law this morning, includes $200 million in emergency relief
Lawmakers worked for years to give relief to Washington state’s fisheries
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), both members of the House Appropriations Committee, to announce that a new, two-year bipartisan budget deal includes $200 million to help communities with declared fisheries disasters. This announcement caps years of work to give relief to Washington state’s fisheries, which have experienced numerous federally-declared disasters in recent years. Most recently, in a letter to their colleagues last month, Senators Murray and Cantwell urged the investment, noting how prolonged diminished returns have hurt the livelihood of fishing families and communities, and affected the economy. In the House, Representatives Kilmer and Herrera Beutler repeatedly called for disaster declarations from the Department of Commerce and for the inclusion of funding for these disasters in previous funding bills.
The funds announced today would apply to 2017 federally declared disasters.
“The fishing industry is critically important to our state’s economy, and to communities up and down our coast—so when fishing families are hurt by forces out of their control, we should step up our support like any other disaster,” Senator Murray said. “This deal is a good down payment on our efforts to get help to families and I will keep fighting to ensure these critically important funds make it to communities in our state.”
“The fishing industry is a key economic driver on our coast, supporting thousands of commercial, tribal and recreational fishing and processing jobs,” said Senator Cantwell. “This fishery disaster funding represents a critical investment in fishing families and the future of their communities. I will fight to ensure this funding is included in the final legislation, so that we can support fishing families and grow this important part of our maritime economy.”
“Part of what’s wrong with Washington, DC is that too many people forget about the impact of what Congress does on people in the rest of the country. Washington State’s fisheries are a key part of the state’s economy and culture. Our communities urgently needed these funds to recover from multiple disasters which have wreaked havoc on our state’s waters and the finances of the people who rely on them to make a living, and I’m glad Congress finally followed through,” Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) said. “With so much at stake for the state’s economy and residents, moving forward, Congress should work out a plan to make sure the fate of fisheries disaster funds aren’t tied to partisan politics.”
“Through no fault of their own, our fishermen are facing a disaster that is threatening the resources that they depend on for their livelihoods. Now Congress has to do its part to step in with disaster assistance for our coastal communities who fuel the economy and create jobs in Pacific County,” Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) said.