July 14, 2014
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 5016, the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support H.R. 5016, the fiscal year 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
"This bill provides $21.3 billion to fund many important programs and services that help our government function and our economy grow.
"For example, this bill includes $862 million for the Small Business Administration to assist our small businesses – which are the backbone of our economy – to prosper. It also includes $6.7 billion for our federal courts to ensure the faithful execution of our laws and the timely processing of federal cases.
"But this bill also demonstrates a commitment to keeping poor-performing or misbehaving agencies and programs in check.
"It cuts funding for the IRS by $341 million from last year – nearly 12% below the President’s request. This funding level will allow the agency to perform its core duties, but will require IRS management to streamline and make the very best use of its allocated dollars.
"We have also included language that will help ensure that each and every dollar spent by the IRS is spent legally, responsibly, and appropriately.
"For instance, the bill prohibits funding for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences, and for employee bonuses or awards unless their performance is considered.
"The bill also prohibits funding for the IRS to implement Obamacare’s individual health care mandate on the American people. In light of the chaotic and dysfunctional rollout of the Affordable Care Act, I do not see how in good conscience we can possibly allow the IRS to fine American citizens when many are just trying to comply with this flawed law.
"Due to the past inappropriate actions by the IRS, we also have prohibited funding for certain activities to prevent a repeat of these abuses, including: targeting individuals based on their political beliefs; determining the tax-exempt status of organizations under section 501(c)(4); and several other provisions that will help preserve the First Amendment Rights of all Americans.
"This bill is designed to make sure the government works for the people – not against the people or our laws.
"Bill-wide, we have included stringent oversight, accountability, and transparency measures to make sure each and every agency toes the line. This includes prohibitions on funding for the Executive Office of the President to prepare signing statements and Executive Orders that contradict existing law, and a provision that will bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Financial Research under the annual appropriations process – ensuring that these agencies will remain accountable to the taxpayer.
"These actions fulfill our congressional duty to the American people: to act as faithful shepherds of federal tax dollars, to force these agencies to respect our laws and our budgets, and to encourage a more streamlined, efficient federal government.
"I would like to thank Chairman Crenshaw and Ranking Member Serrano for their dedicated work on this bill. Together with the rest of the subcommittee and staff, you have brought a good bill before the House today.
"This legislation reflects common-sense decisions to prioritize programs and services that are effective, efficient, and responsible with taxpayer dollars. I urge my colleagues to support it.
"Thank you, and I yield back."