December 17, 2015
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of the full-year Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present Amendment #1 to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2029 – the fiscal year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act – legislation that will fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.
"This funding measure provides $1.149 trillion for critical government programs and services. This is the level agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which was enacted last month.
"This funding meets the $548 billion defense and $518 billion non-defense base budget caps.
"The Omnibus contains full-year Appropriations legislation for each of the 12 annual Appropriations bills – weighing priorities and funding levels carefully to prevent waste and promote an effective federal government.
"This bill targets funding toward our national security – protecting against cuts that would damage our military readiness, and securing our homeland by strengthening our borders and prioritizing law enforcement.
"The legislation also focuses funding on our veterans – providing nearly a 10 percent increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs, while addressing VA’s problems with construction mismanagement, and disability claims backlogs.
"And it shores up other critical priorities such as the NIH and CDC, agricultural research, and infrastructure.
"The legislation also includes many policy items that will help rein in bureaucratic overreach, protect the rights of Americans, and encourage economic growth.
"The legislation blocks Administration proposals to impose new fees on ranchers, air passengers, and the oil and gas industries. And the legislation protects free speech by ensuring that the IRS does not suppress the civic participation of 501(c)(4) organizations.
"The bill also preserves the sanctity of life by carrying all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions from previous Appropriations bills, adds new provisions prohibiting genetic editing of human embryos, and reduces UNFPA funding by 7 percent.
"To prevent wasteful or questionable spending, the bill halts improper behavior at federal agencies – like making sure the IRS doesn’t spend any money on frivolous videos or conferences.
"Within the Labor, Health and Human Services portion of the omnibus alone, the legislation eliminates 17 duplicative and unnecessary programs.
"And the bill provides no new funding for expanded EPA regulatory programs – instead holding EPA to its lowest funding level since 2008.
"Finally, this bill includes a number of legislative provisions – the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Prevention Act, and the Intelligence Authorization Act, among others.
"And importantly, it includes legislation to lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports – a huge win for our economy and job creation.
"This package reflects a hard-fought, fair compromise – and I believe my colleagues on both sides of the aisle can and should support it.
"The road to this final bill has not been without its bumps and obstacles – but I am proud we have finally come to a solution. Although one, big, catch-all bill like this Omnibus is not the ideal way to conduct business in this House, the legislation will do the important work of funding our federal government and preventing a shutdown.
"Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my entire Committee – and in particular the hard-working staff – for their tireless efforts on this legislation. Most of them have not had a day off since before Thanksgiving. They have sacrificed family time, holiday dinners, and countless hours of sleep to help bring this bill to the floor today. Their hard work has resulted in a good bill that I am proud to support today.
"I would also like to thank my counterpart, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, Ms. Lowey, for her commitment to getting this done. She has been a fair, conscientious partner throughout this process, and I look forward to continuing to work together in this vein next year.
"And lastly, I would like to take a moment to commemorate Chuck Turner, and his decades of service to the Appropriations Committee and to this House. Chuck sadly passed away on December 8, but he leaves his final mark on this institution in the form of the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill that is part of this legislation. His presence will be deeply missed in the halls of the Capitol.
"With that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to putting to bed our Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations work, and turning toward next year – which, with any luck, will come in on time and under regular order.
"I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill. Thank you."