Chairwoman Roybal-Allard Floor Statement on H.J. Res. 31, Continuing Resolution For Homeland Security Through February 28
House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.J. Res. 31, a Continuing Resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through February 28 and ensure that Homeland Security employees receive back pay:
Today, we are considering a continuing resolution to re-open the Department of Homeland Security after a funding lapse that is now 33 days and counting. This bill simply extends 2018 funding until February 28th with no new funding anomalies. The only new priorities in the CR authorize the department to provide back pay to reimburse personnel and state or other federal grantees, consistent with prior precedent following a lapse in appropriations.
Mr. Speaker, there are only two approaches to take: Either we reopen the department, and the rest of the federal government, without conditions; or we continue to use federal workers, and everyone who depends on them, as bargaining chips in funding negotiations. It seems to me the choice is straightforward.
I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle will reconsider the necessity of opening up the government, and paying federal employees, without any preconditions.
There have been a number of funding lapses over the last few decades – all ill-considered, and all harmful to the country, our economy, and our federal workforce.
History has shown that the American people do not approve of using the federal government and workforce as pawns in a legislative chess game. The side that has tried to use a shutdown as leverage in a negotiation has routinely failed, and polling shows that this recent iteration of the shutdown is no exception.
I know my friends on the other side of the aisle have criticized the consideration of clean CRs on the basis that the Senate will not pass them and the President will not sign them. Mr. Speaker, to my friends on the other side of the aisle, I would say that the way to change that and reopen the Department of Homeland Security is by having every member of the minority party support this CR.
This possibly could help change the thinking of the Senate majority when it votes on reopening the entire government later today – and perhaps even change the thinking of the president.