July 6, 2016
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers today spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 5485, the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
The text of his statement follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5485, the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services Appropriations bill.
This bill provides $21.7 billion in funding for financial services and Treasury programs, the federal judiciary, and small businesses. This total is $1.5 billion below current levels, and $2.7 billion below the President’s request.
Within this allocation, the bill prioritizes funding where it will be best used, and makes policy reforms that improve efficiency and accountability.
To start, the bill takes steps to address issues at the IRS – both cutting overall funding and including funding limitations to prevent the IRS from continuing their recent history of bad behavior. In total, the IRS is provided with $10.9 billion - $236 million below current levels. This holds the agency’s budget below FY08 levels – forcing the agency to streamline and focus on its core duties.
Taxpayer Services, however, are maintained at $2.1 billion, and an additional $290 million is directed to improve customer service, fraud prevention, and cybersecurity.
The bill also includes policy items to correct recent transgressions – including prohibiting funding for a regulation related to the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations, which could limit the First Amendment rights of citizens, and prohibiting funds for bonuses unless conduct and tax compliance is considered.
The bill includes provisions throughout designed to make the government work better for the taxpayer. This includes increasing oversight by bringing the CFPB and the Office of Financial Research under the annual congressional appropriations process, and changing the leadership of CFPB from one director to a five-member panel.
The bill also peels back red tape across the government. This includes prohibiting the FCC from implementing the net neutrality order until court cases are resolved; requiring the FCC to refrain from continued activity on the set-top box rule until a study is completed; and prohibiting the SEC from requiring the disclosure of political contributions on SEC filings.
The bill invests its funding in programs that will protect Main Street Americans – helping them grow small businesses and making their communities safer.
The bill increases funding for federal courts, as well as for important and effective anti-drug programs like the Drug-Free Communities, and High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs.
The bill also includes $883 million for the Small Business Administration, including full funding for veterans programs, and increased funding above the President’s request for Women’s Business Centers. The bill also includes the SEC Small Business Advocate Act, to help small businesses address the unique issues they face due to their size.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Financial Services Subcommittee and the hard-working staff, the Ranking Member, Mr. Serrano, and particularly, the Chairman, Mr. Crenshaw. This will be his last bill at the helm of the Subcommittee and one of his last appropriations bills in Congress. Over his tenure on the Committee, he has been a faithful shepherd of taxpayer dollars and a dedicated servant to his District and to the nation. His presence will be deeply missed by the Appropriations Committee and the entire House.
Chairman Crenshaw’s final bill is certainly a high note to go out on. This bill improves the way the government runs, makes responsible use of federal funding, and invests in the right priorities.
I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
Thank you, and I yield back.