House Passes Priorities for Central Washington

Rep. Newhouse visits McNary Dam to witness the negative effects of a forced spill order.

I am proud to report the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5895, a "mini-bus" appropriations bill that provides funding for Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. 

Of all the funding bills I work on with my colleagues in the Appropriations Committee, the Energy and Water legislation is one of the most important for Central Washington, and I worked to include vitally important resources that benefit our region and our nation. The bill restores more than $200 million dollars for Hanford's Richland Office to continue providing safe and effective cleanup operations onsite. It also restores more than $40 million to the Office of River Protection to continue important work on the 56 million gallons of remaining radioactive nuclear waste, as the federal government works to fulfill its moral and legal obligation to cleanup the Hanford site. 

The legislation commits to move forward with Yucca Mountain as the lead geologic repository for nuclear waste and spent fuel, and it continues its commitment to supporting science, including robust funding for Basic Energy Sciences, Cybersecurity, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. These programs are important for the ground-breaking work conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as they work to tackle the most challenging problems in energy, the environment, and national security. 

Additionally, the bill includes language I authored to stop the danger, anti-science forced spill order currently in effect on the eight lower-Snake and lower-Columbia dams. This forced spill has been detrimental to endangered fish populations, and I am proud that this legislation takes a step to save our salmon and save our dams. Click here to read more.

Click here to watch my remarks in support of my amendment.

I offered an amendment with the support of my colleagues in the Pacific Northwest to prohibit the sale of transmission assets of Power Marketing Administrations, like the Bonneville Power Administration. In rural communities, we rely on the stable, affordable electricity service that BPA provides, and divesting transmission assets is a misguided attempt to fix something that isn't broken. I am pleased that my amendment was approved. 

Wins for Rural Communities

Click here to watch me speak in support of my amendment.

The Appropriations Committee marked up the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This legislation provides annual funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and various independent and related agencies. The Committee adopted my amendment to deny funding for the U.S. Department of Interior proposal to transport grizzly bears to the North Cascades. I have heard my constituents loud and clear on their opposition to transporting grizzly bears to the North Cascades, and the rest of the federal government should take note of local communities’ voices as well. I am pleased that my amendment to deny funding to a proposal to transport grizzlies was adopted by the Committee and included in the legislation approved today. This legislation also includes important priorities for rural Central Washington that encompass federal delisting of the gray wolf, wildfire prevention and mitigation, and preserving the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop. Click here to read more.

Cutting Spending

I voted to support H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, which rescinds $15 billion in federal spending that is no longer needed for its intended purposes and returns it to the Treasury. Congress must align government spending – which is all taxpayers’ money – with our promises to taxpayers. Steadying the fiscal ship of state will require a continuous effort to cut wasteful spending. Rescinding unspent funds is an important step to rein in spending, especially when our national debt exceeds $21 trillion.

Mexico Tariffs Affect Washington Agriculture

Mexico recently announced new tariffs on U.S. farm goods, including a 20% tariff on apples. This announcement comes after the administration applied tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from several countries. I have been vocal in expressing my concern about potential retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. and am not surprised by Mexico's response. A trade war with Washington’s agriculture trading partners and America’s closest allies is not in anyone’s interest. The administration must recognize the necessity of preventing retaliation on American producers by continuing to negotiate with our trading partners for a solution that ensures a fair and equitable trading relationship. Read more in the Yakima Herald Republic.

In Case You Missed It: Farmers Need Workers

iFiber One covered the need for reform of the H-2A agricultural visa program. I introduced an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would streamline the H-2A application process into a user-friendly online portal. Agriculture relies on stable labor, and Central Washington farmers need relief. Click here to read the article.

136 Years of the Yakama Treaty

Click here to watch my remarks on the House floor.

On June 9, 1855, the United States entered into an agreement with the confederated tribes and bands of the Yakama Nation. This year, we celebrate the 136th anniversary of a successful relationship between the Yakamas, the federal government, and the people of Central Washington. Yakama Nation's presence and influence is evident in our region, and I am grateful for their input as I work to represent all people of the 4th Congressional District. 

Thank you for reading this e-news update. It is an honor to serve you in Congress.


Dan Newhouse
Member of Congress

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