Lowey statement at full committee markup of FY 2019 302(b) subcommittee allocations
Mr. Chairman, for the last month, Democrats on this Committee have been demanding to see the full slate of subcommittee allocations. We need these figures to understand how each appropriations bill fits into the larger picture, and whether our work as a whole will meet the needs of the American people.
Now, we understand why the Majority wanted to keep secret for as long as possible the priorities it has chosen in the Fiscal Year 2019 spending bills. They shortchange middle class families and vulnerable people, which is why Democrats stand united in opposition.
The Bipartisan Budget Act reached in March provided for an $18 billion increase for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending between fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The increase in non-defense discretionary spending, which was the product of months of negotiation between both parties, was intended to fund investments that create jobs, grow the economy, and help hardworking families get ahead.
Yet the Majority devotes a quarter of that increase — nearly $5 billion — to the Department of Homeland Security, presumably on President Donald Trump's border wall and deportation force.
Not only is such spending a betrayal of our American values, it is a waste of resources that crowds out needed investments across the other appropriations bills. For instance, despite increases for both the Commerce-Justice-Science and Energy and Water bills, the Majority cut the COPS Hiring Program, which puts more police in our communities to keep us safe, and ARPA-E, which invests in the clean energy technology that will power our future and grow our economy.
Those cuts come in bills with increased allocations. The Majority does not provide a single penny in additional resources to the largest non-defense domestic spending bill, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which funds so many programs that improve the lives and well-being of American families. Providing no increase for the Labor-H bill could starve our schools, hurt job training and workplace rights protection, jeopardize Pell Grants, and limit access to affordable health care, among many other ill effects.
So unless something dramatic changes and we’re proven wrong, here’s where things stand with these spending levels: the Majority would rather build President Trump's border wall and continue the attacks on immigrant communities than help our children, families, and seniors.
This is a stark contrast to what’s happening in the Senate, where our counterparts are approaching the entire appropriations process, including setting subcommittee allocations, in a bipartisan manner. House Republican leadership’s partisan approach makes timely completion of our important work more difficult.
We all hear from our constituents that our country has more work to do to help families afford quality child care, lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, safeguard workers' pensions, provide the education and job training that workers need for a better future, increase stagnant wages, build safe and modern infrastructure and roads, and much more that we could help accomplish in our bills. But the Majority's allocations do not provide sufficient resources to meet any of those priorities, much less all of them.
The allocations before us fall far short of what the American people need and deserve. I oppose them and urge my colleagues to reject them.