Edwards Touts Major Gains in Appropriations Bills

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A congressional recess is coming up fast, but the bulk of Chet Edwards' work on the House Appropriations committee is complete. A senior member of the committee, Edwards has made some notable additions to the 2008 bills.

With multiple terms in Congress, and now a part of the majority party, Chet Edwards says while he hasn't gotten everything he's wanted in this year's House appropriations bills, he believes the Brazos Valley has done well.

"Folks in the Brazos Valley pay federal taxes every year, and I think we have a right to bring them back home," Edwards said in a phone interview from Washington, "and I'm going to use every advantage I have as a senior member of the appropriations committee to bring some of our tax dollars back home for worthwhile investments in our future."

Among the biggest bucks are $21 million towards more than a dozen agriculture programs at Texas A&M, along with $7.5 million for defense projects, everything from tests to extend aircraft rotor blades' lives to biochemical agent detection.

"I'm very proud that we're doing all this within the context of reducing the federal deficit," Edwards said. "By my accounting, we will have funded $50 million for Brazos Valley research and economic development and transportation projects that were not in the administration budget request."

However, what Edwards claims to be one of the biggest accomplishments is the an avoidance of what the congressman calls a gutting of the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center through TEEX. Since 1998, the program has trained first responders from across the nation in case of attack with weapons of mass destruction.

"That didn't come from the president," Edwards explained. "It came from somebody in the Office of Management and Budget, but it was part of the administration budget proposal, and we reversed that. That $22 million program would have been cut down to about $7 million.

"These are awfully important projects for the Brazos Valley, but most importantly, they're important projects for the country," he added.