July 17, 2018
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following speech today on the House floor, in support of H.R. 6147, the legislation containing the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior and Environment and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bills:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 6147, the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior and Environment, and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bills.
This package continues the House’s important work on annual government funding legislation. With passage of this legislation, the House will be halfway done with our Fiscal Year 19 bills through the floor. I thank Chairman Calvert and Chairman Graves for their work with their colleagues.
These bills fund vital programs across the federal government, including those that make Americans safer, protect our nation’s resources, and create jobs.
In addition to providing this necessary funding, the bills ensure that the federal government is working efficiently, and in the best interest of the American taxpayers. This includes streamlining federal agencies, reforming financial policies, and reducing burdensome regulatory red tape.
Both bills reflect American priorities, and I’d like to highlight just a few of these:
The Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, led by Representative Calvert of California, provides $35.3 billion for the EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and other programs that promote our natural heritage.
Within this total, the bill prioritizes funding to fight and prevent devastating wildfires, fully funding the 10-year average for suppression costs.
The bill also targets critical resources to major infrastructure that will improve the lives of Americans – boosting funding to ensure communities have access to safe drinking water and to accelerate the cleanup of Superfund sites.
This is especially important, as more than 1300 national priority sites await urgent attention to address hazardous materials threatening the health of Americans across the country. I appreciate Chairman Calvert’s efforts in this area.
The Interior bill continues funding for other programs that manage our nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, like the National Park Service, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the Chemical Safety Board, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Beyond these important investments, the bill right-sizes regulatory programs to ensure that our government is working to support American families and their communities.
This includes addressing the EPA’s regulatory agenda, and supporting the Administration’s proposal to reshape the EPA workforce. This will enable the EPA to focus on its core duties, while reducing unnecessary spending.
The second bill in this package also works to reduce waste across the government. The Financial Services Appropriations bill, led by Representative Graves of Georgia, totals $23.4 billion, which, like the Interior bill, is equal to FY18 levels.
The bill prioritizes effective programs that improve our national security and expand economic opportunity, while finding efficiencies government-wide and stopping harmful over-regulation.
The bill support America’s small businesses by providing loans and resources that help grow and thrive. It also provides stability for our financial system and protects consumers and investors.
The bill improves accountability to the American taxpayer by directing IRS funding toward customer service and stopping the misuse of funding within the agency.
Another priority is law enforcement. The bill provides funding to fight the opioid abuse epidemic, protect our financial institutions from cyber crime, and support our federal courts.
I’d like to commend the Appropriations Committee members who led the drafting of these bills – Financial Services Chairman Tom Graves and Ranking Member Mike Quigley, and Interior and Environment Chairman Ken Calvert and Ranking Member Betty McCollum – along with their subcommittees and the professional staff who support them.
I am pleased that the House is taking the next step forward on our Appropriations bills today. These bills maintain vital federal responsibilities and reflect common American values, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
I yield the balance of my time.