Chairman Quigley Statement at Subcommittee Markup of FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Funding Bill

2019-06-03 19:30

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2020 bill:

The Subcommittee will come to order. 

Before we begin, I would like to start by thanking staff on both sides for the long nights and weekends spent drafting this bill and preparing us for this markup.

Their efforts are what really keep the wheels turning around here and I know all the Members share this sentiment.

Today the subcommittee will mark up the fiscal year 2020 bill. 

In a moment I’ll talk about the mark itself, but first I would like to thank my colleague, Mr. Graves, for his hard work and collaboration. 

I know we may not agree on everything, but I appreciate his partnership in developing the best possible bill.

I’d also like to thank the Chairwoman of the Full Committee, Mrs. Lowey for her tremendous leadership and stewardship of this Committee, as well as the Committee’s distinguished Ranking Member Ms. Granger.

I also want to recognize and thank Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (who is here with us this evening).

I can think of no one more qualified or dedicated to protecting the rights and promoting the interests of the residents of D.C.

This is my first time as Chairman and so far, it has been an honor and a privilege.

The Subcommittee held multiple hearings this spring to explore the issues facing agencies funded through this bill.

I found each of them to be instructive and they absolutely informed many of the policies in this mark.

The agencies and programs under the jurisdiction of the Financial Services subcommittee are uniquely varied.

Each one plays an important role in the functioning of our government, whether it be in terms of core services or in relation to government responsiveness, transparency, or efficiency.

The subcommittee’s current allocation is $24.5 billion. 

Under the terms of the active budgetary enforcement provisions in the House [put in place by H.Res. 293], that allocation will be increased by $400 million when we report this bill to account for Internal Revenue Service enforcement activities.

This means that our total budget allocation will be $24.9 billion, which is the amount provided in this mark.

In total, the bill includes $12 billion for the IRS—an increase of more than 6 percent above the President’s request—and a good first step toward restoring the draconian cuts this agency has suffered for almost a decade.

This investment will support more effective and efficient enforcement activities to help close the tax gap, improve taxpayer experience by reducing wait times, and increasing support to those trying to navigate the complex tax code.

The bill also provides increases totaling $15.6 million for Treasury Department offices and programs focused on combating money laundering, enforcing sanctions, and countering the financing of terrorism.

I’m particularly pleased to report that the bill also rejects the President’s harmful proposals to eliminate or reduce funding for programs that directly support small businesses and disadvantaged communities, and instead includes substantial increases to these programs above the fiscal 2019 levels.

Notably, the bill includes $300 million for Community Development Financial Institutions—a widely bipartisan program essentially eliminated in the President’s budget request—which is an increase of $50 million above FY 2019.

In addition, the bill provides $281.8 million for the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs—which is $101 million above the President’s request, and $34 million above FY 2019.

The grant programs supported in this account provide much needed and targeted assistance to small businesses hoping to expand and create additional jobs.

The bill also rejects the Administration’s efforts to sideline a vital source of federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic and continues to fund these programs under the Office of National Drug Control Policy to ensure this crisis receives the highest level of federal attention it deserves. 

Specifically, $300 million is included for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program—an increase of $20 million above FY 2019—and the Drug-Free Communities Program is funded at $100.5 million.

The bill includes $7.5 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Judicial Branch—an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 2019—to fund protective services and physical security needs in courthouses and ensure the continued operations of the Federal Judiciary.  

The bill also provides substantial increases in funding for agencies that protect everyday consumers and retail investors—including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission—agencies that are relatively small but essential to the safety of our economy and well-being. 

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to highlight the funding included in this bill for the Election Assistance Commission, which deals with issues that are extraordinarily important to the Nation and its ability to conduct reliable, secure, and accessible elections.

Just last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller described Russia’s concerted attack on our political system in 2016, saying “There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election”.

He detailed the Russian efforts and specified that they were designed and timed to interfere and damage a presidential candidate.

It was a purposeful strategy, involving sophisticated cybertechniques, to influence the outcome of our election.  Our election.

The underpinning of American democracy whereby American citizens alone decide who represents them in government. 

Robert Mueller concluded by saying that the efforts by a foreign government to interfere in our election, “deserves the attention of every American”.

I couldn’t agree more. This is not a partisan matter.

If anything, the challenge of securing our election systems should be a uniting force among Americans.

The bill before us today includes $600 million for payments to States to help them meet the challenge of restoring the security and integrity of American elections. 

I urge all my colleagues to join me in advancing this critical investment.

In addition to vital election security funding, there is much more to detail about all the good things in this bill, and I intend to do just that as this process moves forward.

I am proud that the bill removes several longstanding policy riders that I consider to be harmful, including many that dictate to the District of Columbia how to manage its own affairs or spend its own money.

I am also proud of the many ways in which the choices in this bill stand to improve the lives of the American public, whether it be by improving their tax filing experience, protecting their privacy and their financial investments, promoting small business creation, combating drug trafficking, I could go on and on.

So I look forward to discussing these issues and more in the coming days.

With that, I turn to my friend and colleague, Mr. Graves for an opening statement. 

116th Congress