Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2021 302(b) Subcommittee Allocations
WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of its fiscal year 2021 302(b) subcommittee allocations:
Our first order of business is to consider the subcommittee allocations for fiscal year 2021, also known as the “302(b)’s.”
The allocations I am offering today are consistent with the levels agreed to last year in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 for fiscal year 2021—notably, the last year of the Budget Control Act.
The allocations before you do not include additional spending permitted under current law for emergency requirements, disaster relief, and wildfire fighting, among others.
Among those adjustments will be $12.5 billion in critical funding for our nation’s veterans.
The 2018 VA MISSION Act shifted the responsibility for providing care for our nation’s veterans to this Committee, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated those requirements.
This Committee cannot meet the needs for the rest of the country or fulfill other Veteran’s programs unless we move a portion of these rising costs for veterans’ programs outside of the budget caps. A bipartisan coalition of Members in both chambers has already recognized this need, and Chairwoman Wasserman-Schultz’s bill will reflect that reality.
I heard a lot from my Republican friends during subcommittee markups about this being a violation of the agreement last year. It has been well reported that my counterpart, Senator Shelby, also understands that having the VA MISSION Act be funded outside of the caps preserves our commitment to veterans. Clearly, this this is not a partisan issue.
Outside of the allocations, we also provide much needed emergency funding for our Nation’s failing infrastructure – including the Nation’s antiquated public health infrastructure. When the budget deal was passed last year the words COVID-19 and coronavirus only existed amongst scientists. It would have been irresponsible to ignore the millions of people out of work when this committee is integral in rebuilding the economy.
Under these fiscal year 2021 suballocations, each subcommittee would receive an increase from the fiscal year 2020 levels. These allocations would allow for:
- Historic levels in funding for the VA—an increase of over $12 billion from last year—to provide the benefits and medical care that our veterans have earned through their service to our nation;
- A $2.4 billion increase for the Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education subcommittee to help support working families, improve health security, and build a stronger future for all Americans;
- A $1.7 billion increase for the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development subcommittee to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and help more people find safe, affordable housing; and
- Other increases across the remaining subcommittees that will help deliver For The People.
As I promised when I became Chairwoman, and as we did last year, we will be adopting allocations for all 12 subcommittees before we consider any bills.
These allocations uphold our commitments to America’s working families and will allow us to complete an orderly process in this Committee and on the Floor.
I urge my colleagues to support the slate of allocations before you.
I will now turn to Ranking Member Granger for her remarks.