July 27, 2010
Lewis Statement on the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill for our Troops and Disaster Assistance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today considered critical legislation to provide emergency funds for U.S military efforts, relief for victims of the Haiti earthquake, and for various other national emergencies including the Gulf oil spill.
Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis, along with Republicans in the House, have been calling for the passage of this legislation since receiving the request for these funds from the White House in February. Unfortunately, the legislation was systematically delayed by House Democrats who sought to use the must-pass bill as a vehicle for billions in unrelated spending and bailouts. These extended delays prompted Defense officials to warn that the Department will face severe cash-flow challenges, and would have to take harmful budgetary actions such as requiring people to report to duty without pay, should the funding not be approved before August.
However today, with all attempts by Democrat leaders to manipulate the legislation now failed, the House will finally vote on a “clean” version of the bill. This version has already been passed by the Senate and does not include extraneous domestic spending – clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the White House for final approval.
Ranking Member Lewis gave the following statement on the House Floor today in support of the legislation:
“Mr. Speaker, I intend to be very brief in my remarks today because we need to pass this emergency spending bill without further delay.
“It’s been six months since the President sent his supplemental funding request to Congress. The package we’re considering today is, ironically, the very same clean emergency spending package the Senate approved on May 27th—precisely two months ago. The delay in passing this legislation was caused by one thing and only one thing—the House Democrat majority’s continuing and unwavering appetite for spending.
“The Senate passed its clean version of the Supp in late May and sent it to the House for speedy approval. Instead of quickly passing it and sending it to the President’s desk, however, House Democrats spent weeks negotiating with themselves over just how much non-emergency spending could be placed on the backs of our troops.
“Senate Democrats and the White House sent strong signals that adding billions in domestic non-emergency spending would further delay funding for our troops as well as critical disaster assistance to areas of our country in desperate need. But that advice was ignored by the House majority.
“Fortunately, the Senate last week wisely rejected the House majority’s effort to piggyback tens of billions of dollars of additional spending onto this package. The Senate has sent back to the House the very same clean emergency supplemental it sent two months ago. Today, the House must do the right thing and approve this funding. We simply cannot afford to wait another day—we cannot afford to wait another minute—to get this long overdue package to the President.
“I applaud the Senate for rejecting billions of dollars of non-emergency spending placed on the backs of our troops. Let’s support our men and women in uniform; support disaster assistance for areas of our country in need; and pass this bill.”