Chairman Rogers Rules Statement on FY 2015 Omnibus Legislation

Dec 10, 2014

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers today made the following remarks before the House Committee on Rules:

"Good afternoon, Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Rules Committee. Thank you for having me here today on behalf of the amendment to H.R. 83 I have submitted that includes the bipartisan House and Senate agreement to fund the federal government for the rest of the 2015 fiscal year.

"I come before you to request an appropriate rule to provide for prompt consideration of this important measure. Our current funding mechanism expires on December 11, 2014 – Thursday. To avoid a costly and damaging government shutdown, we must pass this legislation before then.

"The funding measure abides by all the terms of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, providing a total of $1.013 trillion. It includes full-year Appropriations legislation for 11 of the 12 annual Appropriations bills, weighing each agency and department individually, reflecting up-to-date budgetary needs, and prioritizing the most effective, most useful programs.

"This legislation also includes a short-term funding mechanism for the Department of Homeland Security, which expires on February 27, 2015. This holds funding for DHS programs at current levels to maintain essential security programs on our home front.

"Moving on to some of the highlights:

"National security is a top priority in this legislation. The measure provides $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.

"It also cuts more than $345 million from the IRS and $60 million from the EPA from last year’s levels.

"The legislation provides no new funding for ObamaCare, and holds the line on funding for the agency at HHS most responsible for implementing this law.

"It prohibits funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to act on two regulations that could have serious consequences for American industry: changing the definition of “fill material,” and regulating water in certain agricultural areas under the Clean Water Act.

"The legislation also protects farmers, ranchers, and other job creators from onerous regulatory burdens by amending Dodd-Frank swaps push out rules, and by adopting the House promise to stop the EPA from placing the sage grouse on the Endangered Species List. And it helps put a stop to improper behavior at federal agencies – prohibiting the IRS from targeting groups for scrutiny based on their political beliefs, from determining the tax-exempt status of an organization, and from holding inappropriate conferences.

"The bill also preserves the sanctity of life – maintaining all existing pro-life policy and funding provisions from previous Appropriations bills, as well as adding several new provisions that address conscience protection and the transparency of ObamaCare plans that provide abortion-related services.

"Although it is my preference to consider 12 individual Appropriations bills on time, under regular order, this is our best-case scenario as we face a short deadline. This legislation fulfills the Constitutional duty of the Congress to keep the lights on in the federal government, and will allow us to start with a clear deck in the 114th Congress to hopefully complete our Appropriations work for 2016 on time.

"I know the Ranking Member of the Committee shares my desire to return to regular order next year. I would like to thank Mrs. Lowey for her fairness throughout this process, as well as her hard work bringing this bill before you today.

"The Omnibus legislation is the result of weeks of hard negotiations between the House and the Senate. It reflects conservative priorities, but it is also a compromise – a bipartisan bill that can and should have wide support from both parties in both the House and the Senate.

"I hope we can pass it in short order, and send it on to the Senate and eventually the President for their quick approval as well. The American people deserve the stability and certainty of a functioning federal government, and it is high time we provide that to them. Thank you."