September 30, 2015
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 719, the Fiscal Year 2016 Short-Term Continuing Resolution. The bill provides funding to continue government programs after the fiscal year ends at midnight on September 30, 2015, at the current, fiscal year 2015 rate, and lasts until December 11, 2015.
Chairman Rogers' statement follows:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H.R. 719, a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open and operating after the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
"This necessary measure funds government programs and services at the current rate through December 11th of this year. As in previous years, the CR also includes a small across-the-board reduction to keep within the fiscal year 2016 cap level set by the Budget Control Act.
"This is a responsible measure that prevents a harmful government shutdown, while allowing time for a larger budget agreement to be reached, and time to complete the full-year Appropriations work for 2016.
"It also includes a few responsible provisions to prevent disastrous, irreversible damage to government programs, or to address current, urgent needs.
"These changes are limited in scope and noncontroversial. For instance, these provisions: extend the authority for critical Department of Defense activities that fight terrorism; increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs to help address the disability claims backlog; and provide emergency funding to the Forest Service to help respond to the wildfires that are devastating our Western States.
"While I firmly believe this legislation is the best path forward at this time, it is also my strong opinion that Congress should do its job and enact actual, line-by-line Appropriations bills ahead of our September 30 deadline. Clearly, this is not an option at this time, so we must resort to a temporary measure like this CR.
"But a CR doesn’t reflect our most current budgetary needs. It creates uncertainty across the government, and does not adequately address our national security obligations. And it causes needless waste when taxpayer dollars are spent inefficiently and ineffectively.
"So it is to my great dismay that we have arrived at this point once again – requiring a temporary Band-Aid to buy us time to do our constitutionally mandated duty.
"The House got off to a great start – beginning our appropriations work at the earliest date since 1974 and passing 6 of our 12 bills by July. My Committee passed all 12 bills for the first time since 2009.
"But now, with progress stalled, it is clear that all sides must come together to find some sort of agreement that addresses our current fiscal situation in a comprehensive way.
"And this CR, while not ideal, is the next step toward that end – keeping the government’s lights on as we work to find a solution.
"With current funding set to expire in just hours, I urge my colleagues to do the responsible and reasonable thing, and support this Continuing Resolution today.
"Thank you, and I yield back."