Lewis Statement on the Democrat’s Temporary Continuing Resolution (CR)

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Lewis Statement on the Democrat’s Temporary Continuing Resolution (CR)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis gave the following floor statement today regarding the Democrat leadership’s plan to temporarily extend funding for government operations into next week. This temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) is intended to allow the Senate additional time to pass the massive Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Floor Statement by Ranking Member Jerry Lewis:

“Mr. Speaker, we didn’t have to be here today debating yet another extension to the Continuing Resolution.  And we certainly didn’t have to wait until the fiscal year was almost half over to complete a package of spending bills addressing funding for 2009.  And yet, here we are 157 days into the new fiscal year—passing another short-term CR—while our work on the 2009 bills remains unfinished.  What a shame.  What shame. 

“Had the Appropriations Committee been allowed by the Democrat leadership to do its work last year, we could have easily passed each of the 12 spending bills.  Each of the bills would have benefitted from Members offering and debating thoughtful amendments in full committee and on the House floor.  Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, liberal or conservative—your rights as a duly elected Member of this body have been belittled by a majority leadership that believes absolute power flows from the top. 

“Members should have had the opportunity to do what they were elected to do—shape legislation and make their voices heard.   Instead, virtually every Member of the House has been shut out of the process of writing the massive, $410 spending bill that will govern how taxpayer dollars are spent for the remainder of this year.


“The sad irony is that while the House passes another CR keep the government running, the Senate is doing what the House could only dream of doing—offering and debating amendments to the Omnibus spending bill.  It’s no wonder so many Members of the House aspire to serve in the Senate.  The Senate is the only place left in the U.S. Congress where legislation is still considered under an open process. 


“The Senate has wisely observed what the House has failed to recognize:  Not one of the nine bills in the Omnibus spending bill was ever debated or considered by the House or Senate.  Six of the nine bills in the Omnibus were never debated or considered by the full House “Appropriations Committee.  Senators are doing the right thing by attempting to improve this legislation that is busting at the seams with too much spending. 

“The Senate’s action last night sends an unmistakable signal that spending fatigue has finally set in.  Senators of both parties recognize what the House leadership failed to observe—that the spending in the Omnibus is excessive and goes far beyond what our public believes is reasonable and responsible. 

“Omnibus funding represents a $32 billion, or eight percent, increase over last year for the very same agencies and programs.  This represents the largest annual federal government spending increase since Jimmy Carter was president in 1978. 

“There is a storm brewing out in the hinterlands fueled by the public’s disdain over the free-for-all spending of this Congress.  Hundreds of billions of dollars directed to the stimulus package, Wall Street, automakers—and the line of folks with their hand out continues to grow.  Where does the spending end, Mr. Speaker? 


“It has been said that completing the Omnibus is merely completing last year’s unfinished business.  But what a wasted opportunity it is not to demonstrate to America that this Congress and this administration “gets it” and that we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and address government spending that has simply grown out of control.  Again, where does the spending end? 


“The Members of this House have had enough of the “my way or the highway” legislative process that has governed the formulation of the Omnibus, the stimulus package, and every supplemental spending bill passed over the last two years.  And, I believe the majority of our Members have had it with the proliferation of spending that will come to define the 111th Congress under this majority.  


“Mr. Speaker, each of us recognizes that extending a CR one more time is an admission of our failure to complete our work on time.  It will surely pass but let’s not lose sight that this is simply doing our work in the worst way possible.  Again, it didn’t have to be this way. 


“In closing, let me say that I don’t believe this is Chairman’s Obey’s fault.  While we may disagree over policy and funding levels, we both believe that it’s time to get our appropriations process back on track.  I look forward to working with the Chairman this year and am hopeful that together we can embrace an open process that allows for the full participation of Members on both sides.


“Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.”

112th Congress