Chairman Hal Rogers Floor Statement Supporting H.R. 933, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013
March 21, 2013 -
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present H.R. 933, the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year. This legislation provides funding for essential federal programs and services, helps maintain our national security, and takes a potential shutdown off the table.
The House passed a very similar version of this bill two weeks ago, and yesterday, the Senate passed their version of this legislation. Now, it is back before the House today for our final stamp of approval.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the deadline we face here: The existing Continuing Resolution expires next Wednesday, so it’s vital that we get this bill to the President for his signature straight away.
The total funding provided in this bill remains at $984 billion, the level required by the President’s sequestration order.
To summarize the contents of H.R 933 briefly:
This bill contains full funding for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs – exactly what the House approved the other week.
Without the additional flexibility provided in this bill, the Pentagon could face severe funding constraints – potentially jeopardizing our national security.
In addition to addressing our military’s equipment and readiness needs, it also provides for the quality of life and health of our troops and veterans. We’ve added an additional $2.5 billion for the VA to ensure our nation’s warfighters receive the benefits they have earned for their service.
The Senate added three additional full-year Appropriations bills to H.R. 933 – Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Agriculture.
This funding will support critical law enforcement agencies, protect our nation’s borders and food supplies, and provide important agriculture and rural development investments. We’ve ensured that crucial government services – like food and nutrition assistance programs – remain available to those who need them most.
These updated funding levels will help keep our economy on the path toward recovery – supporting U.S. trade, manufacturing, and job creation.
In the other departments and agencies covered by the bill, both the House and the Senate made limited, technical changes where absolutely necessary to prevent extensive waste of taxpayer dollars, to avoid any serious and irreversible damage to government programs, and to provide strict oversight of this spending.
The Senate added a number of additional “anomalies” beyond what was included in the initial House draft. While I do not think all of the Senate additions are absolutely necessary, none are reason enough to oppose this legislation.
However, what the Senate did NOT add is important as well. The Senate did NOT add additional funds for ObamaCare. They did NOT add additional funding for the flawed Dodd-Frank law. They did NOT remove important 2nd amendment protections. And, they did NOT dismantle important oversight and funding conditions that help ensure the wise and appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
All said, this bill is the product of thoughtful, bipartisan compromise. We stayed in close touch with Senators Mikulski and Shelby as they managed this bill in the Senate, and as a result, the Senate added no ‘poison pills’ to the bill that passed the House last week.
Even if a Continuing Resolution is not the most preferable way to fund the government, I believe this bill is the best we could do under these tricky circumstances, and I thank my colleagues – on the other side of the aisle and the other side of the Capitol – for working closely with me and the Committee over the past few weeks.
We still face a long haul for the rest of the year. It may seem far down the line, but the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year is only six months away – not to mention the other fiscal challenges we face.
Passing this Continuing Resolution today lays the framework for a path forward. It takes a looming fiscal deadline off the table to allow us to finish the rest of our work, and ensures our government keeps its doors open through it all.
I ask my colleagues today to do the right thing for the American people, and support this legislation.