HIRONO COMMENDS OBAMA BUDGET THAT TAKES SIGNIFICANT STEPS TO CLOSE OPPORTUNITY GAP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono commended the budget released today by President Obama. The budget addresses key Hirono priorities including early learning and immigration reform.
“The President’s Budget takes significant steps to close the opportunity gap by supporting middle class families and those working to get into the middle class. This is a broad plan that strengthens our economy by investing in our workforce at all stages of learning – starting with funding for high quality early learning programs, investing in STEM education, making college more affordable and investing in job training for workers who need help getting back on their feet.
“To help ensure that our workforce is entering into a vibrant economy with good-paying jobs, this budget makes long-term investments in clean energy, transportation, manufacturing and community development. The budget also calls for pro-growth initiatives such as immigration and tax reform. Comprehensive immigration reform would bring millions of people out of the shadows, reduce the deficit and grow our economy. This budget also makes our tax code more fair and efficient, expanding the earned-income tax credit (EITC) to help more working families struggling to make ends meet, including the one in six households in Hawaii already helped by the EITC.
“This budget keeps our promises to our kupuna and veterans and reaffirms the President’s strong commitment to Hawaii. It calls for funding for Native Hawaiian education, health care and housing programs, continues to fully fund the Honolulu Rail project and supports ongoing efforts to combat invasive species. It also recognizes the unique role Hawaii plays in diplomatic and security efforts in the Asia-Pacific by continuing support for the East-West Center and funding important local military and veteran facility upgrades.
“While this budget isn’t perfect, it lays out a strong vision for a robust economy where everyone has a fair chance. I look forward to working with my colleagues to support these initiatives and projects in Hawaii and across the country.”
Some specific highlights of the budget include Hirono priorities such as:
- Funds for the East West Center at $10.8 million, the same level as FY2014.
- Fully funds the Honolulu Rail project at $250 million.
- Funds for VA Grants for construction of state extended care facilities at $80 million.
- Funds for VA Medical Facilities, including a new clinic in Hawaii, at $4.9 billion.
- Funds for Agriculture Quarantine Inspections at $27 million. This includes pre-departure inspections in Hawaii.
- Funds for education initiatives, including Preschool for All, STEM education, and Pell Grants.
- Funds for ‘Energy Race to the Top’ for Energy Efficiency and Grid Modernization as well as other investments in clean energy including R&D and other initiatives to make America a global leader in this area.
Hawaii specific military construction and facilities upgrades funds include:
- Funds for the Fort Shafter Command and Control facility at $96 million.
- Funds for Kaneohe Bay at $53 million.
- Funds for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam at $52 million.
- Funds for the Maui Space Surveillance System at $14 million.
The budget also includes funding for several Native Hawaiian Initiatives:
- Funds for the Native Hawaiian Education Act at $32 million, the same level as funded in FY2014.
- Funds for the Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions of Higher Education from the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture at a total of $30.8 million, an increase from FY 2014.
- Funds for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant at $13 million, an increase from FY2014.
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