Chairman Rogers Floor Statement on FY15 Omnibus Appropriations Legislation

Dec 11, 2014

House Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the House amendment to the Senate amendment on H.R. 83, legislation to fund the federal government for the rest of the current fiscal year:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today, as we face the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution, to present the House amendment to the Senate amendment on H.R. 83, legislation to fund the federal government for the rest of the current fiscal year. 

"This amendment prevents a costly and damaging government shutdown, while making good-government funding and policy decisions and reining in regulatory overreach. It is good for the continuity of vital federal programs and services, it is good for our economy, and it is good for the American people.

"In total, this legislation provides $1.013 trillion dollars for the operations of the federal government. This total is in line with the terms of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement.

"It includes full-year Appropriations legislation for 11 of the 12 annual Appropriations bills, reflecting the most up-to-date budgetary needs of each agency and department. The Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate went line by line through these bills, prioritizing funding for effective and vital programs, and making the tough decisions to cut funding for lower-priority programs.

"In addition, the measure includes short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security, holding the funding levels for DHS programs at current levels.

"This will ensure that efforts to secure our home front are maintained until February 27th of next year.

"This legislation is a compromise– the product of hard-fought negotiations between the House and Senate, with give-and-take from both sides. But at the end of the day, it reflects conservative priorities, keeps our spending in line, and reins in the regulatory overreach that has been hampering our economy.

"As such, national security is a top priority in this bill. We provide a total of $554 billion for the Department of Defense, including $64 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding to support our troops in the field, to combat ISIL, to train and equip our Iraqi allies, and to counter Russian aggression.

"To further assist our economy, we include provisions that put the brakes on regulatory programs that are too intrusive and too burdensome on American businesses.

"For instance, the legislation prohibits funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to act on two potentially harmful regulations: changing the definition of “fill material,” and regulating water in certain agricultural areas under the Clean Water Act.

"The bill measure prevents the listing of the Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species list – a premature action that would have severe economic consequences on Western states. And the bill protects job creators from onerous regulatory burdens by amending Dodd-Frank swaps pushout rules.

"This bill also demonstrates fiscal restraint. It cuts $60 million from the EPA, provides no funding for high-speed rail, the President’s Race to the Top initiative, or UNESCO or IMF. No new funding is included for Obamacare, and the bill holds the line on funding for the agency most responsible for implementing this law at HHS.

"For the IRS, the bill cuts the agency $345 million below last year, and includes language to put a stop to improper behavior by prohibiting the targeting of groups based on their political beliefs, prohibiting the White House from ordering the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization, and from funding inappropriate videos or conferences.

"This legislation is the product of the bipartisan and bicameral cooperation that the American people called for at the voting booths last month. Passage of this bill will show our people that we can and will govern responsibly, rise above inaction, and work together on their behalf.

"Although I would have preferred – as I am sure we all would have – to consider each of the 12 Appropriations bills under regular order, this is our best path forward under the circumstances. We face a very tight deadline, and if we do nothing, we will be turning our backs on our constitutional duty and on the American people.

"Before I close, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the many people who worked on this legislation.

"Thank you to the staff: You have all put in so much time and hard work on this bill – including sacrificing your holidays and time with your loved ones. We appreciate all that you do.

"Thank you to the Members of the Appropriations Committee who fought long and hard to ensure that we have the best bill before us today, notably the Ranking Member of the Committee, Mrs. Lowey.

"I’d also like to acknowledge six Members of the Committee in particular – Jack Kingston, Frank Wolf, Tom Latham, Jim Moran, Ed Pastor, and Bill Owens. It is fitting that for these six appropriators, their final vote on the House floor will be on a government funding bill.

"This nation is a better place because of your service, and I thank you all for your contributions to the Appropriations Committee and to the House of Representatives over your combined 120 years of service.

"I now call on the Members of this House – Republicans and Democrats alike – to support this legislation. It is good, it is bipartisan, and most importantly, it is necessary. Vote Yes. Thank you, and I yield back"