Chairman Hal Rogers Floor Statement on the Senate Amendment to H.J. Res. 59

Sep 30, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise to move forward once again with H.J. Res. 59, the short-term continuing resolution that will keep the government open after the end of the 2013 fiscal year, at midnight tonight.

We simply can’t wait a second longer. At this late hour, we must move ahead at an accelerated pace to keep the doors of our government open. For the sake of our nation, we must pass this continuing resolution.

The operative word here is “continuing.” The bills we’ve had on the floor, including this most recent version, do not shut down the government, as my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have falsely said. This bill, and the ones before it, continues the important functions of the federal government. That means our citizens will continue to benefit from these programs and services. And passing this bill will allow this Congress to continue to make progress on our important legislative work – including finding meaningful, responsible, bipartisan solutions to our fiscal problems, like the debt ceiling, sequestration, and the most immediate issue at hand, funding the government for the 2014 fiscal year.

A shutdown will help no one; it will only harm our nation’s security and our economy. It will hurt our people, who rely on the federal government’s programs and services in some way or another, and who put faith in their government to act in their best interests.

Mr. Speaker, the House is not the body that is refusing to act. We aren’t the ones who are not willing to budge. 

House Republicans have now offered multiple bills, including one with just a repeal of the widely unpopular medical device tax. We’ve even incorporated changes that the Senate had proposed.  But the Senate still refused to engage.

Today, we offer yet another piece of legislation designed to keep the government open.

As with the previous CRs that the House has considered, this CR will fund the government through December 15, at the current, post-sequestration funding rate. It will incorporate most of the Senate’s changes to our first CR, and include the few additional changes that I proposed as an amendment and that were added in the House on Saturday. It will also delay for one year Obamacare’s individual mandate, and eliminate the employer subsidy for the health insurance plans of Members of Congress and our staffs, and for political appointees.

No one is going to like everything in this bill – I don’t like everything in this bill. But the Continuing Resolution before us today is the most immediate path forward to avoiding a shutdown. I expect that the House will do the right thing, and approve this CR today.

I remain hopeful that the Senate will work with the House, and pass this legislation. The people of this great nation deserve more. They deserve a government that works for, not against them. At the very least, that is a government that keeps its doors open.

I urge every single Member of Congress to vote ‘yes’ on this continuing resolution today.

Thank you.