September 13, 2018
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen gave the following statement before the House-Senate Conference Committee meeting on H.R. 6147, the third FY 2019 "minibus" Appropriations package, which includes the Interior, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bills:
Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here today, and welcome back to many of you.
I am delighted to convene our third formal Conference Committee meeting for Fiscal Year 2019. We are making great strides toward returning to regular order and funding the federal government on time and within budget.
This would not be possible without the cooperation and partnership of Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Leahy, and Ranking Member Lowey. I thank them for their dedication to this process and to getting our work done.
Congress is making progress on our Appropriations bills that hasn’t been seen in well over a decade. In fact, the House and Senate haven’t held a Conference meeting on the Interior bill since Fiscal Year 2009!
This is in part due to the hard work of the Conference Committee and our professional staff, who have negotiated and labored over the past month to bring this Conference Report before this Committee today.
This third package includes four Appropriations bills: Interior; Financial Services; Agriculture and Rural Development; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
This will fund necessary programs that bolster economic growth, create jobs, ease congestion in our roads, rails, ports, and skies, and improve essential infrastructure in communities across the country.
It will also preserve and promote our natural resources, ensure our national parks and public lands remain accessible, support American farmers and ranchers, and strengthen judicial functions and our financial sector.
Notably, this package also will contain significant funding to prevent and fight wildfires, which have devastated millions of acres in the West this summer alone.
Both the House and the Senate share these priorities, and that has helped us reach a compromise on many aspects of this legislation.
While we haven’t seen eye to eye on everything, I know our final package will reflect common American values and support the programs that benefit all Americans.
Again, I would like to thank the members of the Conference Committee – particularly the Chairs and Ranking Members of the four subcommittees.
I am glad to see us continuing progress on Appropriations legislation in this fashion – working side by side to get our work done the right way.
If we continue in this direction, with widespread support from our Colleagues and the President, we will fund nearly 90% of the federal government – and hopefully before the end of the fiscal year.
It’s been a long time since the American people have seen the Appropriations process function successfully, and I’m proud we’re delivering these results today.