Lowey Floor Remarks Introducing Legislation to Reopen Federal Government, End Trump Shutdown
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor after she introduced legislation that fully funds most federal agencies through September 30 and continues funding at current levels for Homeland Security through February 8:
As this new Congress begins our work for the American people, I thank my colleagues for the honor of electing me Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. I would also like to congratulate my colleague and friend Kay Granger on becoming Ranking Member. I look forward to working with her and all of the members of our committee and this House in the 116th Congress.
For the first time in our nation’s history, however, we convene this new Congress under a federal government shutdown. Now in its 13th day, the Trump shutdown has disrupted life for more than 800,000 federal employees and their families, including nearly 400,000 people serving our country without pay. The shutdown has undermined public safety, halted consumer protection programs, and made it harder for the government to serve farmers, homebuyers, and small business owners.
The devastating impact on international security and assistance initiatives includes halting counterdrug, anti-crime, and border security efforts; preventing the obligation of funding for anti-terrorism assistance; cutting off foreign military financing; and stopping all new activities related to global health such as anti-malaria and HIV/AIDS treatments as well as maternal mortality care.
As Representatives, funding the federal government is one of our most important duties. When Congress allows a President to dictate ridiculous demands and lets petty partisanship prevent the timely passage of appropriations bills, we abdicate that responsibility. Our new Democratic Majority was elected to end the chaos and govern responsibly.
This legislative package to end the Trump Shutdown and fully reopen government consists of two parts, separating the disagreement between President Trump and Congress over border security from funding for the rest of the federal government.
The first part, the one we are considering now, provides full-year funding for six of the seven fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills that have not yet been completed. The text is virtually identical to bipartisan legislation that has already passed the Senate Appropriations Committee nearly unanimously and, in four cases, passed the full Senate on a 92-6 vote. These bills are not perfect, but they make key investments in bipartisan priorities, do not include any poison pill riders, and increase funding for important programs by $53 billion more than President Trump’s budget request.
The second part of our legislative package, which will be presented shortly by our distinguished Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, includes a Continuing Resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through February 8. It would allow the Department to reopen without providing any new funding for President Trump’s wasteful border wall.
I urge my colleagues to pass both bills. And I urge the Senate to act responsibly and take up these bills without delay. It is up to Senate Republicans whether to vote for their own bills and reopen the government or block them and continue the Trump Shutdown.