Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded Senate passage of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus federal funding bill, a bill that includes many programs that will specifically benefit California.
“California won big in this year’s government funding bill. It includes robust funding for several issues important to our state such as fighting wildfires, mitigating drought, ending homelessness and combating climate change,” Feinstein said.
“More importantly, this bill invests in Californians, helping us deal with the issues we’re facing today and prepare for new challenges in the future.”
[In Santa Barbara County: Guadalupe Union School District to build a new early education center in Guadalupe, CA; $2,000,000 and Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board to construct, install, and operate a pumping barge and associated equipment; $500,000.]
Senator Feinstein helped secure critical funding and address the need for more affordable housing through a variety of important programs to combat homelessness:
- $30 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, including an extra $50 million to expand rental assistance vouchers to an additional 11,700 households, including individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness; survivors of domestic violence; and veterans.
- $3.6 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, including $290 million for Emergency Solutions Grants and $107 million to prevent youth homelessness.
- $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
“California, and especially Los Angeles, has a huge problem with homelessness, and addressing this problem is one of my top priorities,” Feinstein said. “Unfortunately there is no silver bullet to solve the problem. Instead, it’s going to take a comprehensive approach. This bill provides the resources needed for the federal government to remain a partner with the state, counties and cities as we deal with the crisis by investing in housing, training, counseling and mental health services. We must do everything we can to help those experiencing homelessness and prevent others from falling into this situation.”
Senator Feinstein helped secure nearly $4.4 billion in the bill to fight wildfires, including $914 million to pay federal firefighters a competitive salary and determine better ways to prevent, respond to and recover from wildfires. This is an increase of $92 million from last year that will allow the Forest Service to hire more permanent firefighters and convert seasonal positions to full-time positions. Funding also covers more capable systems and aircraft to fight wildfire.
“Wildfire remains one of the biggest threats facing California, and it’s only going to grow due to climate change,” Feinstein said. “This bill ensures we’ll have the tools necessary to prevent wildfires before they start and rapidly fight them once they are burning.”
Drought and environmental resilience
The fiscal year 2023 funding bill will provide nearly $900 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California.
- $186 million to fund drought-resilience projects under the WIIN Act, including water storage projects, water recycling projects, habitat restoration and other environmental projects.
- $116 million to fund three projects in California: $80 million for Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, $18 million for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion in Contra Costa County, and $18 million for the Purified Water Replenishment Project in Riverside County.
- $81 million for seismic retrofit of the BF Sisk Dam in Western Merced County, a hub for California’s water system, and $263 million for managing and operating California Reclamation projects.
- $18 million for the repair of San Joaquin Valley canals that are critical for replenishing aquifers and compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
- More than $442 million for Army Corps of Engineers flood control; dam and levee safety; coastal resilience; and harbor operations and maintenance projects.
- $5 million for the Air Force to make research and reconnaissance flights to support the prediction of atmospheric rivers, which produce major storms. This improves the ability of local authorities to more efficiently manage water reservoirs.
- Environmental restoration and flood control projects including dam safety and water storage improvements at Folsom Dam, Mojave River and Prado Dams, Lower San Joaquin River restoration, Murrieta Creek restoration, Desert Hot Springs wastewater treatment, Hamilton Airfields Wetlands restoration, American River and West Sacramento Flood control projects, Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration and 44 operation and maintenance projects across California’s ports, harbors and dams.
“Water is the lifeblood of California and we must do everything we can to protect and efficiently use this scarce resource,” Feinstein said. “This bill provides new funding for water storage projects, water recycling projects, habitat restoration and other environmental projects so we can modernize our water systems and meet the demands of a state of 40 million people.”
U.S.-Mexico border pollution
The bill included key provisions of Senator Feinstein’s Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, authorizing the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to use $300 million in already appropriated funds to expand the water treatment plant to treat sewage flowing into the United States.
“For too long, the federal government has been ineffective in dealing with border pollution flowing from Mexico into California. This bill ends that confusion and gives the IWBC the authority it needs to help expand and manage the water treatment plant in San Diego,” Feinstein said. “It is past time to get this done.”
Additional California provisions:
- $3.7 billion for agricultural producers harmed by natural disasters, including drought, to support California farms.
- $216 million for specialty crop farmers to help protect California crops from invasive pests.
- $822 million for the Mars Sample Return mission that is headquartered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
- $783 million for a fleet-replenishment oiler ship to be built at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego and support more than 3,500 jobs.
- $28.6 million for the ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning system to enable its completion by 2025, as well as report language encouraging the U.S. Geological Survey to coordinate its efforts with state government emergency response organizations.