In a strongly worded letter, the US President told the US Senate that he wants the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative fully funded at $475 million. The letter makes it clear that this initiative is a priority for the White House.
“ The Administration appreciates the Committee’s inclusion of $400 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but urges the Congress to fully fund the President’s request of $475 million,” the letter states.
And just in case a little strong arming from the White House isn’t enough to push the Senate to fully fund the Great Lakes restoration plan, the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force is also sending around a dear colleague letter. The bipartisan letter asks key House and Senate leaders to authorize and actually spend the full $475 million. So far, Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Chris Lee (R-NY), Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) and Mark Schauer (D-Mich.) have signed onto the House letter. The deadline for the House letter is Friday.
HOW is urging coalition members to call the House and Senate offices of those who haven’t signed on yet starting tomorrow – Wednesday, September 23. Members of Congress should contact Joy Mulinex in Senator Carl Levin’s office to sign on.
Next week we will name the names of any Great Lakes Representative or Senator that did not sign onto the letters.
HOW Co-Chairs will also send a letter to the Conference for the Interior Bill (where the GLRI lives) and request complete funding. This one is a full court press – let’s get it started!