January 15, 2014
House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the fiscal year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations legislation:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the floor an amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3547. This is the Consolidated Appropriations package that will fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2014 fiscal year.
"This omnibus contains all 12 regular Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014 – funding every aspect of the federal government, from our national defense, to critical transportation infrastructure, to the education of our kids.
"In total, it provides $1.012 trillion in discretionary funding – the same level delineated in the Ryan-Murray agreement.
"I am pleased that Senator Mikulski and I were able to come to this fair, bipartisan agreement on funding the government. Although our differences were many and our deadline short, we were able to come together to draft a solid piece of legislation that meets the guidelines of the Ryan-Murray agreement and keeps the government open.
"I understand that not everyone will like everything in this bill – that is the nature of compromise. But I believe this legislation reflects the best possible outcome.
"We made responsible choices to realign the nation’s funding priorities, targeting precious tax dollars to where they are needed the most.
"We have continued the four-year trend of reducing federal discretionary spending – making a total of $165 billion in cuts since fiscal year 2010. And we have remained committed to our Republican principles – reducing regulatory burdens, fortifying our national security, and enforcing stringent oversight.
"Throughout the bill, we have maintained pro-life policies, and protected Second Amendment rights. We’ve made sure that this bill provides no new funding for ObamaCare, and have even cut existing ObamaCare funds to the tune of over 1 billion dollars.
"The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate - working side-by-side - went line-by-line through the 12 regular appropriations bills to make sure that each program was weighed individually and received a funding level that supports their most current needs.
"We prioritized funding for the most important and effective programs, and reduced lower-priority programs. For example, we didn’t include any funding for high speed rail or three new DHS headquarter buildings, but we targeted funding to essential national defense activities, critical law enforcement programs, and life-saving efforts such as medical research.
"This bill also includes an important provision fixing the Bipartisan Budget Act, to ensure that those who have given the most in military service – the approximately 630,000 medically retired personnel and survivor benefit plan recipients – receive their full yearly cost-of-living increase.
"Before I close, I’d like to take a moment to thank the many, many people who were integral in getting this bill to the floor today: First, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, Mrs. Lowey. Thanks to her partnership and her dedication, we were able to wrap up this omnibus by our deadline, and I know her drive extends to our next challenge – the FY 2015 bills that we’ll start next month.
"Secondly, our counterparts in the Senate, whose open-minded approach to negotiations led to many honest and reasonable discussions throughout the many stages of this process.
"Lastly, I must thank the Members and staff of the Appropriations Committee, who gave up countless hours of family time – during the holidays – to complete this legislation on time. They really are the A-team, and I’m lucky to have them working for this Committee. Without their hard work, their expertise on the issues, and their commitment to this legislation, we would not be here today, and we should all be grateful for their service.
"I’d particularly like to recognize the Clerk of the Agriculture Subcommittee, Martin Delgado. After 16 years, this is his last bill with the Committee – and how fortunate we are to have had him ‘til the end. No one knows the ins and outs of Agriculture appropriations bill like he does – he is a true expert in every sense of the word – and we will miss him dearly.
"Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to once again remind my colleagues that providing funding for our federal government is one of our chief duties as Members of Congress – one that we can’t shirk. The people elected us to fulfill this duty. And three and a half months into the fiscal year, I’d say it’s way past time we pass this legislation.
I urge my colleagues to vote “aye” on this omnibus, so that we can send it to the Senate for their approval, and get it to the President for his signature, as soon as possible. Thank you."