Chairwoman Lowey Statement to House Rules Committee on H.R. 648 and H.J. Res. 31

January 22, 2019
Press Release

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey delivered the following remarks at the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider H.R. 648, a package of six bipartisan House-Senate compromise appropriations bills, and H.J. Res. 31, a Continuing Resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through February 28:

Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. I will be brief, as we have our subcommittee Chairs here to discuss their Divisions of the bill.  

The Trump shutdown, now in its 32nd day, must end without delay so the federal government, including the Department of State and related agencies included in this bill, can get back to fully working on behalf of the American people.  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 are bringing forward six conference reports negotiated last December when Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and the White House.  If members of the Republican Party 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-designate Roybal-Allard is bringing forward a Continuing Resolution for the Department of Homeland Security through February 28. This legislation will ensure that DHS is open and its employees are paid while President Trump and Congress negotiate border security and immigration policy.

I want to quickly discuss the State and Foreign Operations bill that my Ranking Member, the former chairman, negotiated with me and Senators Graham and Leahy.  It is a very good bill.  It 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, which would have eroded the progress we’ve made on both maternal and child health and access to family planning services.  

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

These bills were written by the Republican-led House and Senate together with Democrats.  It is past time for partisan jabs between Congress and the White House.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted.  But we compromised for the betterment of the United States.  These bills should be enacted, and I hope my colleagues will support the joint decisions made by the House and Senate.  Together, let’s end the Trump shutdown for all Americans.

Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.

116th Congress