GRAND RAPIDS — One of Congressman Bill Huizenga's only complaints with President Donald Trump recently has been his proposed gutting of Great Lakes restoration funding, which Trump pledged Thursday to restore.
"I support the Great Lakes. Always have. They are beautiful. They are big, very deep. Record deepness," Trump said on March 28 to a full Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
Trump announced his promise to fund $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after giving a shout out to Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland; and Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet. All three congressmen were at the rally and are on the Great Lakes Task Force, which Huizenga co-chairs.
"Having him make a public pledge like this to fully fund the Great Lakes restoration initiative was a big win," Huizenga. "That was something that myself and Congressman Bergman and Moolenaar, it was really at the top of our list on issues to talk to him about."
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative clean-up work includes toxic substances and invasive species.
Trump has not always supported the Great Lakes like he said he has. His 2020 budget proposal would have slashed funding by 90 percent from $300 million to $30 million. The $270 million proposed cut has garnered bipartisan criticism. The president has proposed to practically eliminate the Great Lakes clean-up program by the way of lack of funding since he entered the White House.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph did not attend the rally but is also on the Great Lakes Task Force. The West Michigan congressman's office said Upton was invited to the rally, but did not go because of "the timing of previously scheduled events."
"This announcement was (a) huge win for Michigan and the entire region," Upton said in a prepared statement. "Our delegation — Republican and Democrat — from day one stood shoulder to shoulder to make sure that funding for the GLRI was protected. It really is great news for our Great Lakes because protecting our national resources is so important."
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