October 16, 2013
The U.S. House of Representatives tonight passed H.R. 2775, a bill that will raise the United States debt ceiling, and provide funding for the operations of the federal government to end the government shutdown. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the bill:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H.R. 2775. This legislation will raise the nation’s debt ceiling to avoid default, reopen the doors of the federal government, and end this unfortunate shutdown.
“The legislation before us is a Senate amendment to H.R. 2775. The Senate has just passed this bill, and now it is up to this House to send it to the President for his signature. It is the product of a final agreement between Republicans and Democrats to help put us back on stable ground – with an open government, and without the threat of default – as we look to find a long-term, comprehensive solution to our multitude of fiscal problems.
“First and foremost, it provides critical funding for operating the federal government at the current, annual rate of $986 billion through January 15th – to end the government shutdown.
“The resolution includes a limited number of non-controversial or technical changes, called “anomalies.” Many have already been passed by the House and the Senate. However, a few are new, such as provisions to ensure the smooth re-opening of the government; to provide due compensation for federal employees and other funding for shutdown costs; to provide funding for the FAA to continue current operations without interruption; and so on. These have been included to prevent irrevocable harm to vital government programs, to continue critical services, and to ensure good governance.
“To be clear, the CR portion of this resolution is virtually “clean,” and is essentially identical to the legislation I introduced in the House in early September.
“Secondly, this legislation will increase the debt limit until February 7th. By extending our borrowing ability, we will avoid the damage a default would cause to our recovering economy, to businesses small and large, and to our people who desperately need a stable economy and continued job growth.
“Lastly, the resolution before us will help protect against fraud and abuse by requiring income verifications for individuals seeking subsidies under ObamaCare.
“Essentially, this bill before us tonight allows us to move forward. It deals with the nation’s immediate, short-term problem, and allows time for Congress to address the broader picture – what the real drivers of our debt are, how we can keep from reaching the debt limit in the future, and how we avoid staggering from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis. After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It’s time to take the threat of default off the table. It’s time to restore some sanity to this place. To do this, we’ve all got to give a little. Clearly no one on either side has received everything they wanted, but I believe that now we all should act for the greater needs of our nation.
“I may not look like it, but I’ve been here for 30 years. I was here during the last shutdown. I was here for the shutdown before that. I know that it takes all sides – Democrats, Republicans, House, Senate, and White House – to get things done in a productive way. I’ve said this all along – last week, two weeks ago, two months ago, two years ago when the Republicans took control of this House: If we want to get anywhere, we must be willing to negotiate and to compromise, and we should be willing to put partisanship aside and govern for the greater good.
“The House must realize it is just one-half of one-third of this government, and that no laws can be made without the consent of the Senate and the President, just as they can’t enact laws without us.
“We must also acknowledge that the status quo isn’t acceptable – it’s driving us into unsustainable debt, and it’s hurting this nation and the people who call it home.
“I’m optimistic that, once this resolution is passed, the House and the Senate will come together in a budget conference to work out our broad fiscal and budgetary challenges. It is my hope that a common, topline discretionary number for fiscal year 2014 will be established that will allow Congress to enact full-year appropriations bills and avoid shutdowns like this in the future. And it is also my hope that Congress can address head-on the problem of unsustainable growth in our mandatory and entitlement programs, and work to reform our overly complicated, growth-stifling tax code.
“The resolution before us will buy time to accomplish this “Must-Do list” and will ensure that our people have access to the critical government services they rely on in the meantime.
“This bill is a fair bill. It is a compromise bill. It will help restore the peoples’ confidence in their elected officials, and in the economic future of this nation. I believe that my colleagues can support it – and should support it today – to end this shutdown and to pull us back from the ledge of this fiscal cliff. The sooner we pass this resolution, the sooner we can move on to the many other tasks the people have sent us here to do.
“I urge my colleagues to do their jobs and vote ‘aye’ on this bill today. Thank you.”