September 23, 2009
Democrat Majority Puts Themselves Before the American People –
Attempt to Combine Must-Pass Continuing Resolution with Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Democrat leadership today moved to appoint conferees to the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill – the legislation that funds the operations of the U.S. Capitol, including Congressional offices and expenses. The Legislative Branch bill is one of five Appropriations bills that have cleared both the House and Senate and are waiting to be negotiated by a conference committee and sent to the White House for approval.
However, in an objectionable and last minute parliamentary move, Democrat leaders attached a must-pass Continuing Resolution (CR) to the bill. Because the fiscal year expires on September 30, and because the House and Senate have yet to complete annual Appropriations work to fund the federal government, a CR is needed to keep the government operating. The Democrats’ move to combine the two pieces of legislation is an attempt to force Members of Congress to choose between voting for their own office budgets or voting for a government shut-down.
In addition, the Democrat Majority has yet to appoint conferees on the four other Appropriations bills that have been passed by the House and the Senate, including Agriculture, Energy and Water, Homeland Security, and Transportation/Housing. This means that the legislation funding Congressional offices and salaries will be approved before legislation to fund important national priorities.
House Appropriations Committee Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis criticized the Democrats’ move as an attempt to put their own well-being above that of the American people.
“It is outrageous that the Democrat Majority is putting themselves first above our nation’s needs – including the safety and security of our country. Funding the operations of the Capitol and Members’ offices is clearly not the most pressing concern facing the American people. However, it appears members of the Democrat leadership would rather make sure their own expenses are paid before approving funds to build roads, improve water quality, provide food assistance to the hungry, or protect our nation from dangerous criminals and terrorists.
“Five Appropriations bills are ready to go to conference with the Senate. 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.
“Shutting down the government – even in the worst case scenario – is not the preferred option. However, by attaching the CR to this Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, the Majority is forcing members to choose between voting for our own office budgets or voting for a government shut-down. This is not the kind of responsible legislating that the American people sent us here to do. I hope that the President recognizes the need for a veto of this bill should it reach his desk.” Lewis said.