September 18, 2013
Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Rules Committee. I am here before you today to present H.J.Res. 59, the Continuing Resolution that will keep the government operating following September 30, 2013, the end of the current fiscal year.
I’m here before you today to seek an appropriate rule to provide for the timely consideration of this legislation. Time is running out, and the House must take up – and pass – this bill as soon as possible.
This CR is a mechanism to keep the doors of the government open after current appropriations bills expire.
The base of this CR is clean, includes no controversial riders or policy reforms, is short-term, and prevents a catastrophic government shutdown.
H.J.Res 59 lasts until December 15, 2013 – for a total of 76 days. It provides funding at an annualized rate of $986.3 billion – approximately the same rate as the current, post-sequestration funding level, with minor score-keeping adjustments.
There are some cases – very few – where provisions have been included to prevent disastrous, unintended shortfalls, to ensure the continuation of critical programs and services, or to provide good governance of taxpayer dollars. These are the so-called anomalies. We have only included those that are absolutely necessary.
I have said this before – many times now, it seems – but a Continuing Resolution is not my preferred way to fund the government. Passing 12 individual appropriations bills under regular order is one of the most basic and important duties of Congress.
Defaulting to continuing resolutions year after year is a bad habit we’ve developed. While my Committee made every effort to pass our bills and bring them to the floor, many fiscal and political challenges made this impossible.
It’s high time we got our fiscal house in order, and this CR – while not the ideal course – will give us the time to do just that.
This CR will provide a funding bridge to keep the government open while larger fiscal negotiations occur. We must find a balanced and attainable solution that addresses the debt limit, our out-of-control entitlement spending, and the indiscriminate and damaging cuts of sequestration.
To get our work done, we need a common number – an overall topline for discretionary spending – on which the House and Senate agree for both FY 2014 and FY 2015. With that, I have every confidence that we will be able to complete our work on the 12 appropriations bills for this year and next.
It is my hope that my colleagues in the House recognize the urgency and importance of passing this interim measure. The American people do not want, and frankly are tired of the repeated threats of a government shutdown year after year.
A shutdown would be bad for the economy, bad for this Congress, and bad for the hard-working Americans we represent. Congress must pass this bill without delay.