Murkowski Responds to President Obama’s Budget Request

Today Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) responded to President Obama’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017, which serves as a suggestion for Congress’ appropriations process:

“This summer we saw Alaska be used as the backdrop for President Obama’s climate change agenda. And that’s still the case today, quite literally—the cover of the President’s $4 trillion budget request shows a picture of Denali. While the President’s budget may be massive like Denali, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

“There are positive proposals in this budget, and many of the Alaska-specific provisions in his request are items that I have been pushing for quite some time. I do believe that imitation is the best form of flattery.

“For instance, the President’s proposal to assist Alaskans impacted by climate change through a resiliency fund is actually a part of my bill, the OPENS Act, which was reported this past fall out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I championed paying for a resiliency fund by increasing domestic energy production, which would create jobs and lower prices, but I must oppose the President’s effort to pay for it by depriving other states of money they currently rely upon for their budgets.

“I have led the initiative to meet our nation’s great need for additional heavy icebreaking capabilities, and I am pleased to see substantial funding to construct a polar icebreaker. This is a positive step in the right direction, and I hope that the President continues to make this a priority to meet his self-imposed deadline of starting construction by 2020.

“With the increasing threats to our national security from Russia, China and North Korea we see significant shifts in the Fiscal Year 2017 defense budget. Alaska’s strategic location positions us well to address these threats and this is reflected in the $561 million in military construction for Alaska budgeted in 2017. Alaska will receive a larger share of the 2017 military construction budget than any other state.

“The White House claims that this budget works to ‘…invest in Alaska’s long-term economic and environmental well-being’ but time and time again President Obama has hindered Alaska’s ability to safely and responsibly develop our state’s vast natural resources. From imposing a $10 per barrel tax on oil, that will ultimately hurt consumers, to raising taxes on energy producers, the administration’s budget would decimate Alaska’s energy production. But it doesn’t end there. While raising energy prices, the administration’s proposal would deliver a devastating cut to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is vital to so many Alaska families.

“Federal budgets are expressions of priorities, not actual spending which happens in the appropriations process. While I share some of the President’s priorities, I strongly disagree with others. As a member of the Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I look forward to implementing many of these proposals but in a rational, reasonable, and responsible way that spends less than the President proposes.”