Chairwoman Lowey Floor Statement on H.R. 648, Bipartisan Bills To Reopen Most of Federal Government

January 23, 2019
Press Release

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 648, a package of six bills reflecting House-Senate conference negotiations that will reopen most of the federal government:

Mr. Speaker, the Trump shutdown, now in its 33rd day, must end without delay so the federal government can get back to fully working on behalf of the American people. Just this morning, President Trump’s chief economic adviser warned that the shutdown could lead to zero economic growth this quarter. Let me repeat: zero economic growth.

The solution is simple: reopen the government, pay our federal employees, and then negotiate border security and immigration policy proposals that can command bipartisan support.

The bill before us is yet another step in that direction. Today, Democrats put forward six conference reports negotiated last December when Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and the White House. In fact, Republicans have even urged us to bring them to the floor. If Republicans are serious about governing with us for the betterment of all Americans, then they should vote for these six conference reports and reopen the agencies covered by those bills.

In addition, Chairwoman Roybal-Allard is bringing forward a Continuing Resolution for the Department of Homeland Security through February 28.This legislation will open DHS and pay its employees while President Trump and Congress negotiate border and immigration policy beyond the $1.6 billion in border security- related measures in the bill we consider today. 

This bill provides $563.4 million for immigration judges to reduce the backlog of immigration cases and $524.2 million for construction at ports of entry to facilitate lawful entries and trade.There is $527 million to assist Central American countries as they work to improve security and economic stability in the State and Foreign Operations portion of the bill, which Ranking Member and former full committee Chair Rogers negotiated with me and Senators Graham and Leahy. 

The State and Foreign Operations division also no longer includes poison pills such as the expansion of the Global Gag Rule, which would have tied up $8.8 billion in funding for lifesaving nutrition programs and efforts to prevent malaria, TB, and HIV. It no longer bans funding for the United Nations Population Fund, protecting maternal and child health and access to family planning services. 

A strong international affairs budget of $54.2 billion will help stabilize the world economy, meet unprecedented humanitarian needs, and continue our fight against radical extremism and terrorism.

These bills were written by the Republican-led House and Senate together with Democrats. Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted. But we compromised for the betterment of the United States. These bills should be enacted to end the Trump shutdown for all Americans.

116th Congress