U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) expressed support for the past fiscal year 2015 spending bill to funds the federal government that was recently signed into law by President Obama.
“Legislating is about the art of the possible and compromise,” said Feinstein. “So while I did not support everything in this spending bill, I recognized it is the result of long, difficult and bipartisan negotiations.”
She explained that it is not her ideal piece of legislation expressing disappointment that some of the issues she prioritizes were not addressed while others that she opposes, were.
“However, on the whole I believe it is important that this got done to provide budgetary certainty for the federal government,” said Feinstein. “This bill included smart investments in California’s future, such as modernizing our transportation infrastructure, supporting California’s veterans and pursuing projects to address the state’s historic drought. I’m glad California’s priorities were included.”
The legislation specifically provides a variety of appropriations to California and related issues.
There is $50 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the drought and other states in the west through actions to extend limited water supplies, within existing authorization.
There is $500 million in appropriations for four major public transit projects in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas.
Of note, $324 million is dedicated to Veterans Affairs construction projects in California, including funds to retrofit seismically-unsafe Veterans Affairs facilities in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego, and additional homeless veteran housing in West Los Angeles.
There is also $315 million devoted to the expansion and modernization of the San Ysidro and Calexico Land Ports of Entry along the border with Mexico.
This funding is intended to finish construction at San Ysidro and pay for the first of two phases at Calexico geared toward more efficient and secure processing of travelers.
The appropriations also include $5 million to develop a West Coast earthquake early warning system.
There is a $30.5 million increase for the Food and Drug Administration programs, including a $27.5 million increase to implement new food safety standards for produce, imported foods, and animal feed and a $3 million increase for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System to track drug-resistant foodborne pathogens.
Also included is a one-year extension of a temporary judgeship in Los Angeles with the goal of timely access to the judicial system in California’s Central District, among the busiest in the nation.
Among the items Feinstein opposed were amendments to defund California High Speed Rail, included gun enforcement laws, and relaxed regulation on carbon emissions from power plants.
Feinstein was also disappointed in items relating to truck safety including waivers for larger trucks in three states and the suspension of anti-driver-fatigue rules, known as hours-of-service, to which she was prepared to co-offer a floor amendment to keep had the transportation section of the bill been considered independently.