Bipartisan Support Among MD, VA Congress Members to Resist Proposed Chesapeake Bay Cuts

A Washington Post article (2017-05-23) reported that there is bipartisan support among Maryland and Virginia congress members to resist a budget proposal by President Donald Trump that would eliminate federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The White House released a spending plan released earlier this week that would  completely cut $73 million in federal assistance that goes to the six Bay watershed jurisdictions through the Chesapeake Bay Program. The six jurisdictions include Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Congress has already extended last year’s spending provisions through September of this year. Out of the $73 million, about $9.3 million went to Virginia, $9 million to Maryland, and $2.6 to the District. The article stated that Maryland and Virginia has four lawmakers on the two congressional budget committees: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.).

From the article:

“[The Chesapeake Bay is] like motherhood and baseball,” said Ruppersberger, who represents an area of central Maryland along the bay’s northern edge. “It’s a resource, it’s part of our life. It’s part of what we do and what we stand for.” …

“I’m alarmed,” [Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)] said. “I am adamant that the Chesapeake Bay program is critical to water quality. It is a federal role when you look at the bay being an economic engine, and this revolves around interstate commerce.” …

“We are going to fight them tooth and nail,” said Van Hollen, who was a co-chairman of the Chesapeake Bay caucus when he was in the House. “I think we will be successful in reversing this effort.” …

“I don’t see it as a tough spot,” said the GOP’s Taylor, who is from Virginia Beach. “If I agree with the president, then I agree with him. If I don’t, I don’t.”

“There’s nothing we need to do,” he said, when asked about how he will lobby his fellow lawmakers. “The Chesapeake Bay program has broad support in Congress, and Congress appropriates money.”