Just prior to Great Lakes Days last week, President Obama released his budget for fiscal year 2015, and programs funding the Great Lakes took a hit. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was cut by $25 million—now $275 million, down from $300 million this year. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that provides low interest loans for sewage infrastructure improvements, also was cut. While at Great Lakes Days, Coalition members were able to ask the Great Lakes congressional delegation for their support in increasing appropriated funding to the GLRI back up to current funding levels—or $300 million.
Several of our Great Lakes champions in congress are now circulating a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for $300 million for the GLRI, and we’re asking that HOW Coalition members reach out to members of congress and urge them to sign on. You can view the Dear Colleague Letter, which asks for sign-ons. Or look at the letter to House Appropriators on GLRI funding, which asks the appropriations committee to increase GLRI funding to $300 million in 2015.
The current co-signers to the letter are Reps.: John Dingell (D-Mich.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Timothy Walz (D-Minn.), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Matthew Cartwright (D-Penn.), Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Chris Gibson (D-N.Y.), Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
How You Can Help
You may contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You may also reach out to your Representative via twitter. The deadline for sign ons to this letter is Friday, March 28, 2014. Offices should contact
- Dan Jourdan with Rep. Levin (firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Matt McMurray with Rep. Slaughter (email@example.com);
- Adam Wolf with Rep. Joyce (firstname.lastname@example.org); or
- Rachel McCleery with Rep. Dingell (email@example.com) to sign on.
When you call or tweet to your Congressional Representative, here are some talking points to consider:
- The Great Lakes provide drinking water and a way of life for over 30 million people
- The GLRI has enjoyed robust bipartisan support in past years
- The President’s budget cuts GLRI funding and we’d like to see it restored to $300 million
- GLRI projects are already producing results (local success stories can be found here)
- There is still more work to do, and current problems will only get worse and more costly the longer we wait
- There are many on-the-ground projects ready to go that need funding
Additionally, you may want to draw upon or reference any local editorials or articles that were written on the budget, found here.