September 25, 2009
House Democrats Force Funding Approval for Congressional Office Expenses Under the Threat of a Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House today approved the Fiscal Year 2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill – the annual legislation to fund the operations, salaries, and expenses of the Capitol and Member offices. In a highly contentious last-minute move, the Democrat leadership attached a Continuing Resolution (CR) onto the bill to provide funds to continue government operations until the end of October. Because the end of the fiscal year will occur on September 30, and Congress has yet to pass its annual Appropriations bills, the CR will halt a potential government shut down and give the House and Senate another month to send Appropriations bills to the White House for approval.
The combining of the Legislative Branch bill and the CR is a an attempt by the Democrat leaders in the House to coerce Members of Congress to choose between voting for funding for their own office budgets or forcing a government-wide shut-down.
“No one, including Congress and the American people, is well served by a government shut-down. However, putting the interests of Members of Congress before the interests of the American people is a poor way to do business. Our country is facing the most daunting economic, social, and security challenges in decades, yet the Democrat majority is putting funding for their own offices ahead of these critical issues,” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
In addition, while there are four other Appropriations bills that have passed both the House and the Senate – including Agriculture, Energy and Water, Interior, and Homeland Security - the Democrat leadership chose the Legislative Branch bill to be the first to move forward for White House approval. In 1996, the last time the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill was the first funding bill to be approved by Congress, President Clinton vetoed the bill saying he did not believe that “Congress should take care of its own business before it takes care of the people’s business.”
“While all our Appropriations work is important and necessary, we should be placing priority on those bills that are essential to the lives of the American people,” Lewis continued, “I hope that President Obama would follow President Clinton’s example and veto this bill.”