February 6, 2018
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1892, the Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act of 2018:
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, for the fifth time since last fall, I rise today to present the House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 1892, another Continuing Resolution to fund the operations of the federal government through March 23rd, fund the Department of Defense for the rest of Fiscal Year 2018, and extend critical health care programs, including funding for community health centers.
Our current Continuing Resolution expires on Thursday, and without this legislation, large segments of the federal government will shut down.
Of course, all of us are keenly aware that more time is needed for our leaders in the House, Senate, and White House to negotiate overall funding levels for the 2018 fiscal year. This bill should allow that to happen.
My Colleagues, this CR also makes a very limited number of technical changes in funding levels for only the most essential needs: to prevent delays in preparations for the 2020 Census; to ensure the Judiciary is able to pay jurors; to provide $225 million in emergency funding for the Small Business Administration to provide emergency loans to those whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted by last year’s historic natural disasters.
This legislation also includes the full Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Defense Appropriations bill totaling $659 billion for our Armed Forces. And, I don’t have to remind my colleagues that this bill has already passed this House three times on a bipartisan basis – most recently last week!
Mr. Speaker, we ask a great deal of our men and women in uniform, and we have an obligation to provide them and their families the resources they need to stay safe, and to complete their missions successfully, at home and abroad. Governing from CR to CR just creates more unpredictability, more instability and has real life consequences for both troops and civilians who support them.
The challenges we face around the world cannot be met under this fitful “stop and go” process. While we delay doing the nation’s business, our military and economic competitors are consolidating their gains!
Finally, I would add that this legislation includes necessary funding extensions for bipartisan health priorities like Community Health Care Centers and other public health programs. It also funds important Medicare extenders and includes common-sense reforms and improvements to the program.
But let no one doubt our position on CRs: they are bad fiscal policy. They do not allow programs to grow, be reduced or eliminated if not needed. They maintain outdated policies and stop new, critically important programs from ever starting – including programs that enhance national security and protect our Armed Forces from our enemies. CRs are fiscally wasteful and prevent Executive Branch officials and Congress from planning and preparing and this is true for the private sector, as well. Most importantly, they undermine Congressional oversight that is Constitutionally-mandated for our appropriations.
While I am pleased that we are including the Defense Appropriations bill on this bill, we still must pass all 12 Appropriations bills for the 2018 fiscal year, as well as our third Emergency Disaster Supplemental.
As soon as Congressional and White House leaders reach a bipartisan budget agreement - which could and should happen at any moment - our Committee will get to work immediately to finish negotiations on all 12 year-long funding bills.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
I reserve the balance of my time.