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Warner, Kaine React To President Obama’s Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both members of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statements on President Obama’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016:

Senator Warner said: “The President’s budget proposal alleviates the harmful impact of across-the-board sequester cuts, which hits the federal workforce and military and civilian defense workers across Virginia especially hard. These sequester cuts are due to return in full force next year unless Congress takes action,” said Sen. Warner, a member of the Senate Budget and Finance committees. “I appreciate that the President has included proposals to try to help working families who are struggling with the costs of child care and college, and each of his new programs are paid for in the introduced budget. The Virginia delegation worked hard to protect funding for the overhaul of the USS George Washington and to maintain the Navy’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers, and the White House budget also includes funding to support ongoing efforts to upgrade our critical infrastructure at the Port of Virginia. While I don’t agree with everything in the Administration’s proposed budget, it does provide a strong frame for the upcoming work of achieving a responsible budget balance in setting our nation’s spending priorities.”

Senator Kaine said: “While I’m pleased that the President’s Budget provides significant defense and non-defense sequester relief, the disproportionate impact of sequestration on Virginia demands that we work to reverse sequester cuts altogether. And although I have questions on certain proposals to achieve the goals of this Budget, I support its fundamental premise – to bring middle class economics into the 21st century by making investments in the talent of the American people. The inclusion of full funding for the USS George Washington is especially welcome in this year’s Budget proposal. Despite the fact that the GW was not included in the 2015 Budget, I was proud to work together with members of the Virginia delegation to restore funding for the aircraft carrier and protect the U.S. Navy’s 11 carrier fleet. I also applaud the Obama administration for the on-time arrival of this year’s Budget – a critical piece in our continuing efforts to return to normal budget order.”

The following list includes other provisions in the President’s FY2016 budget that would benefit Virginia:

USS George Washington (CVN-73) Overhaul: $678 million is included in FY2016 on top of the $848 million appropriated in FY15 for refueling and complex overhaul at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia in line with the National Defense Authorization Act which Sen. Kaine worked to include as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Ford Class Carrier Program: $2.8 billion for the Ford Class carrier program, an increase from the $2.05 billion enacted in FY15. The carriers will be constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Virginia Class Submarines: $5.7 billion for construction of two additional Virginia Class submarines, which are constructed, in part, at Newport News Shipbuilding.

NASA Langley: $93.7 million for the planned construction of the Measurement Systems Laboratory (MSL) at NASA Langley Research Center.  A key part of NASA Langley’s 20-year revitalization plan, the MSL will be approximately 175,000 square feet and will have 40 modular research labs.  In December 2014, Sens. Warner and Kaine wrote to the Office of Management and Budget on the importance of including the MSL in the FY16 President’s Budget Request. The President also requests funding for the Advanced Composites Project, a public-private partnership that Sen. Warner worked to develop with partners at NASA Langley which will dramatically accelerate the development of stronger, lighter weight materials used in the construction of commercial aircraft. 

Transportation and infrastructure investment: The President proposes a 6-year, $478 billion reauthorization of surface transportation to modernize and repair America’s highways, bridges, rail, and transit infrastructure.  Warner and Kaine have been outspoken on the need to find a long-term solution to the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund rather than use budget gimmicks to pass short-term extensions. The White House proposal incorporates an innovative financing tool first proposed by Sen. Warner in his bipartisan BRIDGE Act proposal of 2013.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Fully funds WMATA at $150 million for capital grants to update Metro’s aging infrastructure.

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): Fully funds LWCF to support important land conservation initiatives such as the American Battlefield Protection Program, the Chesapeake Gateways and Trails Program, and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail.

Rivers of the Chesapeake: For the first time, the LWCF request supports funding of the Rivers of the Chesapeake collaborative landscape initiative, a new effort to use conservation funds in priority landscapes throughout the country.  Warner and Kaine, along with their colleagues from Chesapeake Bay watershed states, have long advocated for the Chesapeake Bay to be one of these priority ecosystems.

Chesapeake Bay Program:  $70 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program to continue the Chesapeake Bay restoration work that was a top priority for both Warner and Kaine during their administrations as governor.

American Battlefield Protection Program:  $8.9 million for the American Battlefield Protection Program.  Last year, Congress passed Kaine’s legislation to reauthorize and expand this program, which offers competitive federal grants to match non-federal and private donations to preserve Civil War battlefields.  Warner cosponsored this legislation along with 14 other bipartisan cosponsors.

Fossil Energy Research & Development: $560 million for the Department of Energy to develop innovative ways of generating energy from coal, oil, and natural gas with lower pollution levels.

Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act: Includes $12.6 million in the NIH Director’s Common Fund to support pediatric research. The authorizing legislation was named for 10-year-old Gabriella Miller of Loudoun County who passed away from cancer in October of 2013.

Federal Employees: The President’s budget includes a 1.3% pay increase for Federal Employees.  Though modest, the pay increase coupled with other proposed initiatives in the budget reaffirm the President’s commitment to the federal workforce.

Career and Technical Education (CTE): The President's budget includes a $200 million ‎increase for the CTE Innovation Fund in the Carl D. Perkins Education Act to support the American Technical Training Fund program