Lewis Statement on the Democrats Politcal Maneuvering on a Critical Troop Funding Bill

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Lewis Statement on the Democrats Politcal Maneuvering on a Critical Troop Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis testified today in the Rules Committee on the Democrats political maneuvering surrounding the process and content of an emergency war funding and disaster assistance supplemental appropriations bill. The statement follows:
“Madame Chair, I come before you today to urge the adoption of a straight-forward rule—without gimmicks—to provide for the consideration of the emergency supplemental Appropriations bill as passed by the Senate on May 27th.   It is my hope that the House can immediately move the clean Senate version of the emergency supplemental that includes necessary funding for the Gulf oil spill, Haiti, disaster assistance, and our troops.
“It’s now the day before the July 4th congressional recess and there is still a great deal of uncertainty over how the House will be considering the emergency supplemental appropriations bill.  Less than an hour ago, we were sent a package of 8 different amendments totaling over 153 pages.  Included in that package of amendments is a “deem and scheme” resolution that actually spends $31 billion more in discretionary spending in FY 2011 than was spent in FY 2010.  Chairman Obey and Chairman Spratt will characterize this increase as a cut.  Only in Washington is a $31 billion spending increase called a cut. 
“I am especially concerned about the impact these possible amendments to the supplemental could have on our ability to approve a bill for the President’s signature prior to the July 4th recess. 
“I would respectfully remind the Members of the Rules Committee that the failure to approve critical funds for our troops before the 4th of July would send absolutely the wrong message to our men and women in uniform. 
“Further, this inaction would force our commanders to begin making compromising budget decisions that could negatively affect our military readiness.  It would also signal to our enemies a lack of resolve that could undermine our mission in several very dangerous areas of the world. 
“The fact that we are sitting here in July without this spending bill passed and signed into law is, frankly, astonishing to me.  The President submitted his request in February of this year.  The Senate passed its war funding measure on May 27th and indicated that it was ready to conference the bill with the House. 
“That very same day Chairman Obey cancelled the full-committee markup of the supplemental—with three hours notice and with no explanation.  And today, here we are—35 days later—with absolutely no progress having been made and still no additional funding for our troops.    
“My concern is that the House will soon consider the option of adding billions in additional spending and many unrelated policy proposals to the Senate-passed Supplemental.  If this additional spending is adopted by the House, I have grave doubts that the Senate will approve the revised bill causing even further delays in critical troop funding and disaster assistance reaching the President’s desk. 
“I want to be very clear about one thing:  the clean supplemental—which has already passed the Senate and is free of unnecessary additional spending—would sail through the House with a strong bipartisan vote and could be signed by the President tomorrow.  There is no reason on earth that we can’t pass a clean supp today.  I think it is time that my colleagues in the majority take their governing responsibility seriously—stop playing politics with the troops!!!
“As I have said over and over again, we need to pass a clean version of the Supp and we need to pass it now.   I urge the Rules Committee to act responsibly and without gimmickry to move the Senate’s version of the emergency spending bill to the House floor.  It will enjoy broad bipartisan support—anything short of that action is irresponsible and dangerous to the well being of our men and women serving in harm’s way.”

112th Congress