Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the following statement ahead of voting for the budget agreement in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018:
“I am voting yes on the budget deal. It tackles important issues facing Washington’s working families such as infrastructure, the opioid crisis and ensuring the next generation has job skills they need to enter the workforce.
“Over the last year at community coffee and town hall events, opioid addiction has emerged as the number one issue people care about. It is easy to see why. More than 3,400 Washingtonians have died from an opioid overdose since 2012. While Snohomish County represents less than ten percent of the state’s population, the county accounted for almost 15 percent of all heroin-related deaths from 2012-2016. This last July, 37 overdoses occurred in the county during one week, ten of which occurred on a single day. There is no excuse for not addressing this issue. The $6 billion provides greater access for folks seeking substance abuse treatment and mental health rehabilitation.
“Since taking office, I have held 63 roundtables with veterans, where I’ve heard about the needs of the 56,000 veterans who live in Washington’s Second District. The budget will improve conditions at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics, and provide better access to health care for those living far away from VA facilities, as many geographically-challenged veterans in my district know.
“80,000 homeless patients will still have access to critical health resources through Community Health Centers. Additionally, 5,700 children from Washington state’s Second District will continue to receive comprehensive, high-quality health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Helping these vulnerable communities makes this a budget worth voting for.
“You can’t have a big league economy with little league infrastructure – and last year the United States got a D+ when it comes to infrastructure. If my son in college came home with a D+ in his calculus class, he’d be in big trouble. The $20 billion in the budget will pull this grade up, provide repairs to crumbling roads, bridges and highways, and support transit projects, all while putting folks in Washington state to work.
“If the budget deal passes, over the next several weeks Congress will need to work on the appropriations process. Through this process I will focus on further addressing the opioid epidemic, passing a robust funding bill for aviation-relation construction projects, fixing our broken immigration system and building the next generation workforce so young people have a leg up in an ever-changing global economy.”