December 16, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present the final Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations legislation, which includes the Conference report for the remaining nine Appropriations bills, as well as two other bills we will consider later that provide funding for disaster recovery and assistance.
For the second year in a row, the Appropriations Committee has achieved significant reductions in federal government spending – to the tune of some $95 billion. Never before in recent history has a Congress cut spending two years in a row.
The Republican majority is truly living up to our commitment to slice federal funding – getting our budgets back into balance and living within our means. The legislation also includes absolutely no earmarks – abiding by the House Rule.
This report and the disaster aid spending package signify the end of the road for the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations cycle – helping to avoid a potential government shutdown and supporting vital programs and services the American people rely on.
In particular, this bill provides funding necessary to support our national security, including funding for our military engagements abroad and our domestic obligations, benefits and programs for our veterans, active military and their families, and homeland security efforts to keep our borders and communities safe and sound. In addition, this legislation includes policy provisions targeted at reining in harmful government interference and protecting life, liberty and the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker, after weeks of arduous negotiations on this package with our Senate counterparts, we have struck fair, bipartisan compromise. No party got everything they wanted, but we have found a reasonable, responsible balance between reduced spending, wise federal investments, and policy changes that American businesses need to thrive. With Christmas approaching, it’s time we complete this important legislation.
We don’t have much downtime before our work begins on Fiscal Year 2013. I’m hopeful that, with the groundwork we’ve laid this year, we’ll be able to work through next year’s Appropriations legislation in regular order and, most importantly, on time, so we don’t find ourselves in this situation next December.
One last note: This wouldn’t have happened without the good will and hard work of the Committee’s Ranking Member, Mr. Dicks, who has been a great partner throughout this process. While things have been difficult and we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, his knowledge of the process and his commitment to a fair and positive outcome have been a huge asset. His leadership has been critical to the bills we’ve passed and the one before us today.
Along with Mr. Dicks, I must thank the cardinals and Ranking Members of the subcommittees:
- Chairman Young and Ranking Member Dicks on Defense
- Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky on Energy and Water
- Chairwoman Emerson and Ranking Member Serrano on Financial Services
- Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Price on Homeland Security
- Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Moran on Interior
- Chairman Rehberg and Ranking Member DeLauro on Labor-HHS
- Chairman Crenshaw and Ranking Member Honda on Legislative Branch
- Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Bishop on Mil-Con
- And Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey on State and Foreign Operations
They worked through their bills with a sharp eye and a respect for the taxpayer and the programs they dealt with. Time and time again throughout this year, they have faced difficult and arduous tasks head-on, and have met every challenge before them. Without their leadership and dedication, we would not be here today.
Finally, I want to thank the staffs from both the majority and the minority for their hard work this year. Since we began dealing with Appropriations at the beginning of the year, they have worked tirelessly to produce some great pieces of legislation.
I know at some point, it seemed like this process would never end, so I am grateful that they stuck it out, and I’m grateful for the product we have before us today.
I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan effort to reduce federal spending, responsibly fund our troops and government programs, and provide crucial disaster aid funding.