September 5, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen made the following statement before the Rules Committee while testifying on the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act:
Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Rules Committee.
Thank you for having me before the Committee today to testify on the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, as well as my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, who will also review their portions of this bill today.
Before I begin, I would like to extend my sympathies to you, Mr. Chairman, your colleagues from Texas, and all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and its disastrous flooding. I would also like to reassure the people of Texas and Louisiana that the Appropriations Committee is working with the Administration make sure that money will be there for ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts. We expect to take up the first tranche of supplemental funding in the House tomorrow to ensure this much needed assistance can be ready as soon as possible.
Today, I am here to seek an appropriate rule to provide for prompt consideration of this legislation, which contains eight of the 12 annual Appropriations bills: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Interior; Labor, Health, and Human Services; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
As you know, the House passed the Make America Secure Appropriations Act in July, which included funding for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy and water infrastructure programs, the Legislative Branch, and physical barrier construction at the Southern border. With this legislation, the House will consider and hopefully pass all 12 Appropriations bills ahead of the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
In total, this bill provides $416.3 billion in total base appropriations for these important domestic and national security programs that support our economy, keep Americans safe and healthy, and preserve our position as global leader.
This legislation is the product of months of hard work and input from nearly every member in this body and reflects shared values that will help move our nation forward to a more prosperous future.
As I noted, the chairs of each of the subcommittees are here today to present their portions of the bills, but I would like to provide you with some highlights from this package:
The safety and security of the American people is a priority throughout this bill. Critical law enforcement programs will protect our citizens, fight against terrorism, root out illegal drug trafficking, combat opioid abuse, and secure our networks.
It is critical that we spend taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively, so strong oversight continues to be a priority. Funding has been invested in programs with the greatest national benefit, and where programs have proven to be wasteful, ineffective, or lower-priority, cuts have been made.
In addition, an amendment has been offered that will address an issue with the underlying bill to ensure that all funds within the Disaster Relief Fund continue to be available for ongoing disaster recovery.
Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Committee, the bill before you today fulfills our constitutional duty – that we adequately and responsibly fund the entire federal government each fiscal year. This legislation invests in important national priorities while respecting budgetary realities – it is a solid bill.
I would like to acknowledge and thank my colleagues on the committee for their efforts over the past several months to bring this legislation before the House. The eight chairs who are here before you today, their ranking member counterparts, as well as the full committee Ranking Member, Mrs. Lowey, have worked to pass each bill quickly. I am grateful for that dedication, and I’m glad that we will be considering these important bills in the House this week.
I ask my colleagues on the Rules Committee and in the House to support this important legislation today so that we can move one step closer to completing our necessary Appropriations work for Fiscal Year 2018.