October 4, 2011
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the floor the continuing appropriations resolution to keep the federal government operating until November 18, 2011 and to continue support for disaster relief projects.
"This version of the bill – which is virtually identical to the one the House voted on last week – funds the government at a rate of $1.043 trillion dollars and provides $2.65 billion in fiscal year 2012 funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster aid programs.
"However, this bill no longer includes $1 billion in emergency fiscal year 2011 funding for FEMA and the Corps of Engineers, nor the offset for these funds. The Senate dropped these provisions after the White House and FEMA suddenly – and mysteriously – announced that these funds were no longer necessary. While in the short term FEMA says it can get by without the additional emergency funding, it is clear that the agency will soon need additional money to continue ongoing relief and recovery efforts from recent, devastating natural disasters.
"I’m disappointed that the agency has apparently been playing games with the numbers, and my Committee is closely examining why FEMA’s estimates changed at the 11th hour. The Committee also remains committed to providing the proper amount of emergency assistance that families and communities across the country rely on.
"Mr. Speaker, we have now entered into the new fiscal year, and we need to keep the doors of the government open to the American people who rely on its programs and services. We simply must not leave our citizens in the lurch – particularly as thousands of American families and communities continue to rebuild following devastating natural disasters across the country. Furthermore, our economy cannot handle the instability that comes with the threat of a government shutdown.
"This bill supports vital government operations but still saves the American taxpayers billions by maintaining the overall funding level agreed to in the recently enacted Budget Control Act. We are committed to reining in spending at every step, and this reduced funding rate will help our nation return to more sound fiscal footing.
"In addition, this legislation gives both the House and the Senate more time to finish our work on the fiscal year 2012 Appropriations bills – legislation that will continue the trend of reducing federal spending to more responsible and sustainable levels. The House has made great progress on this year’s Appropriations bills, and I intend to wrap up this work as quickly as possible to provide for the economic and fiscal security of our nation and the needs of the American public.
"I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill."
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