East-West Center funding was on the chopping block just three months ago, with House Republicans looking for what they deemed wasteful federal spending.
As Civil Beat reported, however, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye worked to get the center’s $16.7 million reinstated in an appropriations bill.
The $16.7 million for the East-West Center is now part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 that is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature. The money is part of $490 million that will fund an array of programs and projects in the state, most of them military.
While the GOP may have forced lawmakers like Inouye to dramatically curb earmarks — also known as pork — Hawaii’s senior senator is still finding ways to send the kala back to the aina.
‘Difficult Budget Year’
Monday’s press release announcing the $490 million this fiscal year comes from all four members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.
But it was distributed by Inouye’s office, and Inouye is the only member identified by one of his committee assignments — chair of Senate Appropriations.
It’s one of the most powerful of all positions in Congress. Yet Inouye, in his press release remarks, alluded to how times have changed.
“This was a difficult budget year,” he said. “There was much more that I wanted to do but there were limitations. However, we secured funding for very important projects in Hawaii.”
Help for Native Hawaiians
Most of the money — $285 million — will fully fund military construction projects in the islands.
It includes $73 million for a Combat Aviation Brigade Complex at Oahu’s Schofield Barracks, and $33 million for a Readiness Center in Kalaeloa (formerly Barbers Point) for the Army National Guard.
Outside of military projects, the largest earmark is for education: $34.2 million to develop “innovative education” programs to assist Native Hawaiians and to “supplement and expand programs and authorities in the area of education.”
Native Hawaiian healthcare programs will get $14.4 million, while $1.9 million is going to the Kalaupapa Hansen’s Disease Program.
And, there is $7.5 million in reimbursement for state and local government costs — services, personnel, equipment, facilities — incurred from the APEC summit.