Kelly pledges to uphold Great Lakes funding despite Trump's proposed cuts
WASHINGTON, D.C. - “Promises kept, taxpayers first.”
That’s the phrase on the front of the 2020 fiscal year budget released Monday by the White House. And today, Congressman Mike Kelly is hopeful that Congress can once again fulfill what has become a campaign promise as he begins his fifth term in the United States House: sand replenishment and overall improvements at Presque Isle State Park.
Kelly told our Washington Correspondent Matt Knoedler Tuesday morning that he will work to reduce President Trump’s proposed $270 million cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. As Erie News Now first reported Monday, the cuts would nearly eliminate the program that is budgeted for $300 million. The Initiative helps to restore wetlands and improve water quality in-and-around the Great Lakes.
This is the third consecutive year Trump has called for cuts or even attempted to eliminate the program. However, those cuts have been a non-starter for lawmakers representing states along the Great Lakes, and much of the funding remained intact in the final budget.
Kelly is promising the same for this year, a promise that comes months after Trump promised additional sand replenishment funding for Presque Isle during a campaign rally for Kelly and other top GOP candidates in heated general election contests. In November, the federal government announced $1.5 million in sand funding for the park’s beaches.
“I want to get the dredging done, I want to get the breakwaters taken care of,” Kelly said. “But I want to make sure that we’re spending dollars where there is a real, actual return on it. There is nothing more precious in America than our Great Lakes.”
Congress must pass a budget by Oct. 1 or risk another government shutdown.