June 29, 2010
Lewis Statement on the Mark Up of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis gave the following statement of the mark up of the Fiscal Year 2011 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill today:
“Mr. Chairman, I promise to be very brief with my remarks this afternoon.
“I’d like to begin by gently reminding Chairman Obey that we are now three days away from the July 4th congressional recess and we still have not seen the latest draft of the emergency supplemental and have no indication that an emergency supplemental will be moving this week. I certainly hope that’s not the case because failing to approve critical funds for our troops before the 4th of July would send absolutely the wrong message to our men and women in uniform.
“Further, this inaction will force our commanders to start making compromising budget decisions that could negatively affect our military readiness. It would also signal to our enemies a lack of resolve that could undermine our mission in several very dangerous areas of the world.
“The fact that we are now staring at the end of June without this spending bill passed and signed is astonishing and embarrassing. It was on May 27th—more than a month ago—that Mr. Obey cancelled the full-committee markup of the supplemental—with three hours notice and with no explanation. And here we are—33 days later—with absolutely no progress and no additional funding for our troops.
“My assumption today is that the lack of a package is indicative of a lack of majority votes to pass an emergency supplemental loaded up with billions in extraneous funding for a variety of Democrat domestic priorities. It’s for this reason that I again encourage Mr. Obey and the majority leadership to immediately move the Senate version of the emergency supplemental that includes necessary funding for the Gulf oil spill, Haiti, disaster assistance, and our troops.
“The clean supplemental—which has already passed the Senate and is free of unnecessary additional spending—would sail through the House with a strong bipartisan vote and could be signed by the President within days. There is no reason on earth that we can’t pass a clean supp today.
“I’d also like to note for the record that the Committee is proceeding with yet another subcommittee markup in the absence of a budget resolution; in the absence of a top-line 302(a) number; and in the absence of a Committee approved 302(b) subcommittee allocations. To say the least, this is an unprecedented and highly unusual way to proceed with the Committee’s business.
“I’ve also heard some troubling news about the majority’s “scheme and deem” plan to set spending levels for this year—a course of action that would eliminate nearly all of the accountability and transparency that a real budget resolution provides. Its intent is not to inspire fiscal discipline but to merely provide political cover to our friends in the majority.
“In the spirit of the World Cup competition, I’m tempted to call “offsides” on our Democrat colleagues for the manner in which they’re conducting the business of the House and this Committee. House Republicans are fully prepared to give the House majority the “red card”—and vote “no” or “present” on the supplemental—if the House majority insists upon bringing a bloated spending bill, loaded with more red ink, to the floor later this week.
“With regard to the bill before us today, I’m concerned by the overall level of spending which I understand is essentially funded at the President’s request. The majority continues to talk a great deal about fiscal discipline but the fact is—in spite of record deficits and debt—they have not produced the kind of cuts in this bill that we need to put us on a responsible, sustainable budget path. We absolutely must begin rolling back some of the enormous increases in spending that have occurred over the last three years.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”