Cantwell Supports Budget to Strengthen Economy and American Middle Class
Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) lent her support to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution. The Senate Budget Resolution will strengthen the economy, creates jobs, cuts middle class taxes, and makes key investments in energy, education, and infrastructure. It passed the Senate by a vote of 51-44.
"The budget we passed today makes critical investments into our country's infrastructure, education, and research and development," said Cantwell. "As our country continues to look for ways to make smart energy decisions, this budget makes real investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. By investing in fiscally sound policies that create jobs, we can keep our country competitive in a 21st century global economy."
The Senate Budget Resolution provides $2 billion in discretionary funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs (wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, and weatherization assistance) which is $738 million more than the President's proposed funding level. The Senate Budget Resolution also includes $2.7 billion for investment in "green jobs" and establishes a mechanism so Congress can extend and expand renewable energy tax incentives like the renewable energy production tax credit and the solar investment tax credit without adding to the nation's growing deficit.
Recognizing that investing in education and training programs at all levels is key to ensuring our nation's workforce is properly equipped to compete in today's global economy, the Senate Budget Resolution provides for an increase for discretionary education and training funding of $8.8 billion above the president's budget. The Senate Budget Resolution provides for investments in Head Start, Pell Grants and job training. To help schools meet requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and Individuals with Disabilities Act, the resolutionprovides the largest increase for elementary and secondary education programs since 2002. The Senate Budget Resolution also includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to facilitate consideration of legislation, including tax relief, to make higher education more accessible, modernize schools, and support teachers.
"During a time of economic downturn it makes sense to invest in education and workforce programs to help spur economic growth, create new, high paying, long-term jobs, and support community development," said Cantwell. "Programs that train and strengthen our workforce benefits employers and individuals are not just important in the short-term, but they benefit our economy in the long-term."
Last week, Cantwell announced the Senate Budget's inclusion of a 500 million funding increase for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Environmental Management (EM) Program, bringing the total EM program funding to $6.0 billion. The EM program was created in 1989 to safely manage the cleanup of nuclear weapons production sites, like Hanford, and focuses on completing clean up of these sites efficiently and effectively.
"For years, the Administration has talked about accelerated cleanup of waste at nuclear sites and not followed through. Today, we took a step in the right direction to clean up these nuclear sites and keep our communities safe and secure," said Cantwell, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
In 2003 and 2004, DOE announced plans to accelerate cleanup of smaller sites such as Rocky Flats, Portsmouth, and Fernald with a clear understanding that, once these sites were cleaned up, additional funding would be transferred and applied to the large complex sites such as Hanford, Idaho Falls, Oak Ridge, and Savannah River. This is, in part, because accelerated cleanup saves money over the long run.