Chairman Hal Rogers Floor Statement on Short-Term Continuing Resolution
December 8, 2016 -
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of the short-term continuing resolution for fiscal year 2017, which will keep the government operating through April 28, 2017.
Mr. Speaker, I rise before you today to present the second Fiscal Year 2017 Continuing Resolution this year, which will fund the federal government through April 28, 2017.
This bill is a necessary measure to continue vital government programs and services, like our national defense. It keeps the lights on in our government, preventing the uncertainty and harm of a shutdown. Our current continuing resolution expires tomorrow, so we must act today.
This continuing resolution is a responsible compromise – making only limited adjustments where required to preserve the security of this nation, to prevent serious lapses in government services, and to ensure the careful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
To highlight a few of these changes: We take care of our troops by increasing Overseas Contingency Operations resources, and include provisions that accelerate production rates for critical Defense equipment and systems, like the Ohio replacement submarine, the Apache helicopter, and the KC-46A tanker. The bill also maintains adequate funding for the Department of Homeland Security to keep our nation safe.
In addition to these changes, the bill includes necessary funding to help communities recover from recent natural disasters, like Hurricane Matthew, flooding in states like Louisiana and West Virginia, and devastating droughts.
The legislation also includes $170 million for important health and water infrastructure improvements, as well as $872 million for the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act, including $500 million to respond to the opioid abuse epidemic. These items are both fully offset.
As I’ve said on this floor many times over the past six years, standing in this exact spot, a continuing resolution is a last resort. It’s not what I would prefer to bring to the floor as my final bill as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
At the end of the day, a CR is simply a Band-Aid on a gushing wound. This is no way to run a railroad – it’s bad for Congress, bad for the federal government, and bad for our country.
A CR extends outdated policies and funding levels – wasting money and preventing good changes from being made. A CR also creates uncertainty in federal budgets and in our economy. And lastly, it diminishes the Congress’s power of the purse – giving away the people’s voice in how the government uses their tax dollars.
I truly hope that in the near future, we can stop lurching from CR to CR and return to regular order – for the sake of our national security, our economy, and the well-being of all Americans.
However, at this point, this is our best – and only – path forward. It is absolutely imperative that we complete the work on the 11 remaining Appropriations bills as soon as possible when Congress returns.
This is a good bill, and I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this continuing resolution.
Thank you, and I reserve the balance of my time.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to address the House. As I noted earlier, this may be the last time I speak before you as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Without a doubt, the last six years have had their ups and downs. But I have always been proud to serve the people of Kentucky, the people of this nation, the Appropriations Committee, and this great institution.
I’d like to highlight just a few of those ups and downs, with one of my favorite exercises – a “by the numbers” reflection on our many shared experiences over my last six years at the helm of the Appropriations Committee:
- 650 – the number of hearings held by Appropriations subcommittees
- 140 – the number of Appropriations bills considered on the House floor
- 19 – the number of Appropriations bills considered on the House floor in just one month… October 2013
- 12 – the number of Appropriations bills we should pass every year
- 2,122 – The number of floor Amendments considered to Appropriations bills
- 555 (and counting) – The number of floor hours spent debating Appropriations bills
- 70 – The number of Appropriations bills enacted into law (hopefully 71)
- 2 trillion – the number of dollars saved in discretionary outlays as a direct result of our appropriations work
- “too many too count” – the number of Cigars smoked in my office – and they were NOT all me
- 1 – the number of basketball championships won by the University of Kentucky
- 70 – The number of mighty fine Members that have served on the committee over the past six years
- Incalculable – The number of hours our staff – the best on Capitol Hill – have put in their tireless work on behalf of all of us. This includes late nights, weekends, holidays… you name it. When we need them, they are there.
In particular, I want to thank Will Smith. Will worked up the ranks in my personal office, serving as my Chief of Staff before moving to the committee in 2011, first as deputy staff director and now as staff director. He’s been with me for so long and through so much. In any year, he’s a first-round draft pick, and I’m fortunate to have had him by my side these past six years.
I’d also like to thank my Ranking Member, Mrs. Lowey, and our Senate counterparts, Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Mikulski, for their partnership throughout this process.
Today is a bittersweet day, but I am deeply honored to have served this institution at the head of the Committee I love. I hope that this institution, and the people we serve, are better off now because of our work over the last six years. And, I know that under the steadfast leadership of our new Chairman, my dear friend Rodney Frelinghuysen, the progress we’ve made will only continue to grow.
Thank you all for your collaboration, consideration, and companionship over these last years.