WASHINGTON – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that the omnibus spending bill that just passed the Senate includes several provisions directly benefiting the Oregon coast. The bill was the first since Merkley joined the committee, which shapes the federal government’s annual spending priorities.
“In my role as member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, it’s my job to make sure our spending priorities as a nation reflect Oregon’s priorities,” said Merkley. “This bill helps reduces the hassle and cost to fishermen who are currently required to hire observers to track catches. It appropriately takes the burden of paying for tsunami cleanup away from local taxpayers. And it recognizes the critical role small ports play at the heart of our coastal communities. Smart investments like these matter to our communities and I will keep fighting for them.”
At Merkley’s urging, the bill encourages investment in electronic log books for fisherman, which would replace a time-consuming and expensive compliance process that requires physical observers to be present on fishing boats. The bill also allocates $6 million to helping our communities recoup funds from cleaning up debris caused by the 2011 Japan earthquake, as well as $40 million for small ports. There was no money set aside for small ports last year, and in FY 12 there was $30 million.
The spending bill just passed the Senate today and passed the U.S. House yesterday. It is now awaiting the President’s signature to become law.