Wyden, Merkley Join Effort to Preserve Sea Grant Program Funding After Trump Administration Proposed Cuts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined 25 of their Senate colleagues in an effort to preserve funding for the National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) following the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate its funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget.

In a bipartisan letter to U.S. Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, the senators requested the program be funded at least at current levels next year and recognize stakeholder requests for increased funding.

“We urge you to reject the administration’s proposed elimination of the National Sea Grant College program. We are grateful that the committee included an increase for this program in FY 2019, particularly as the increase was given in a challenging budget environment,” wrote the senators. “As senators from some of the states with Sea Grant programs, we see firsthand how this federal investment is leveraged locally to bring immense returns to coastal communities, fishermen, universities, and students. Any cuts to this funding would have a devastating impact and we strongly urge you to reject any proposals to reduce this program.”

The Sea Grant program has become a critical tool to help increase education and conservation of marine resources in Oregon. The state’s Sea Grant program, housed at Oregon State University, receives over half of its annual funding from the federal budget. In addition to enhancing education and conservation efforts statewide, the Sea Grant program has also become an integral part of Oregon’s coastal economy, generating millions in economic benefits every year.

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Angus King, I-Maine, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Tom Carper, D-Del., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Tammy Baldwin D-Wis., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calf., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Chris Coons, D-Del., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

A web version of this release is available here.