June 19, 2008
Ranking Member Lewis Statement on the Emergency War Funding Supplemental
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif), issued the following statement today in support of the long-awaited 2008-2009 emergency war funding supplemental legislation:
“Mr. Speaker, today is the 500th day since the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 emergency supplemental request first arrived on the Hill. Oft times we make the mistake of assuming that we’re doing the Lord’s work in this body. But I remind my colleagues that the Good Lord created Heaven, Earth—and far more—and it took Him 493 fewer days to get it done.
“It’s no secret that I’ve had misgivings about the manner in which the majority leadership developed and moved earlier versions of the supplemental, without consideration by the Committee on Appropriations and under a closed rule.
"While the regular order process was never followed, today I’m happy to report that the House has worked in a bipartisan fashion—and come to an agreement—on a funding package that will provide immediate support to our troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This supplemental is long-overdue and comes at a time when the Pentagon has already issued guidance to employees on potential furloughs. Clearly, our agreement on this legislation comes not a moment too soon.
“A whole array of legislative provisions had been a part of the earlier version of the supplemental, including a massive tax increase on American small businesses. While several legislative provisions remain, the tax increase has been removed.
"This is now a better package, one that provides an educational benefit for our returning troops and their families without placing an additional tax burden on small business—the economic engine that drives our national economy.
“This package also provides unemployment insurance language that provides far more accountability than earlier versions considered by the House. The new provision provides an additional 13 weeks of coverage but requires that recipients work for 20 weeks in order to qualify for the benefit. From this Member’s perspective, I believe this provision has been dramatically improved because it now requires that the recipient earn the benefit.
“I’d like to make one additional observation as I close my remarks. Our friends and neighbors in the
Midwest need to know this: Congress is prepared to help you get back on your feet as you respond to the great floods affecting your region. This legislation provides needed, targeted funding to address the many challenges you are now facing.
“Mr. Speaker, this is a package that should receive the bipartisan support of the majority of our Members today. It is a package the President will sign. I urge its immediate passage and reserve the balance of my time.”
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