Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Idaho Republicans praise federal spending plan

House, Senate approved final budget last week


By EXPRESS STAFF

Idaho's embattled senior senator, Larry Craig, and Rep. Mike Simpson, both Republicans, announced last week that the House and Senate have agreed on the final version of legislation to fund most federal government agencies for fiscal year 2008.

They praised the bipartisan work of both legislative branches in passing a final spending package that provides $70 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Special Olympics World Winter Games will see a significant infusion of cash with the passage of this legislation, and it couldn't come at a better time," Simpson said. "It's also important to note the broad impact this legislation will have on Idaho's schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, fields, forests and communities. The bill will touch virtually every Idahoan in some way."

Simpson and Craig pointed out in a prepared statement that the bill includes many Idaho healthcare and education issues.

"Education and healthcare help form the foundation of a strong community and a thriving state," Craig stated. "Healthy, well-educated children will be in a better position to succeed when they enter the workforce, and this bill recognizes that. I'm confident these projects will have a direct impact—for the better—on the quality of life here in Idaho."

Simpson, too, said that investing in children is an investment in the future.

"We need to address some critical needs of education, healthcare and safety—not only for Idaho but for the entire nation," he said. "This bill addresses the growing concern we have about sexual predators by providing funding to Web-based offender programs. These three components are essential for our children's well-being."

The Community Detox Center of the Treasure Valley will receive $390,000 to pay for a 24-hour facility. The proposed center will contain 36 beds for indigent patients to be treated by professionals.

A typical stay for sobering is 12 hours and typical stays for detoxification are five to six days.

"The Treasure Valley is growing rapidly, and there is a great need for a community detox Center," Craig and Simpson stated. "We are grateful to be part of directing federal funding to projects that impact Idaho."

Some of the Idaho-related provisions include:

- Special Olympics World Winter Games: $7.5 million.

- The Treasure Valley Detox Center: $565,000.

- Idaho Department of Agriculture's Potato Cyst Nematode Program: $9.6 million.

- Idaho National Laboratory's Next Generation Nuclear Plant: $116 million.

- Environmental remediation efforts at Idaho National Laboratory: $513 million.

- Boise Airport air traffic control tower: $8.9 million.

- Idaho roads, bridges and transit infrastructure: $11.2 million.

- Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security wildfire mitigation: $600,000.




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