DeLauro Floor Remarks on Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 6833, the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023:
I rise in support of the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, which extends funding for federal programs and services through December 16. With a 72-25 vote, the United States Senate approved this legislation with the support of all Democrats and 22 Republicans, including Senators Shelby and McConnell.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge the millions of people in Florida, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and elsewhere reeling from recent disasters, stranded without power and other necessary resources, and mourning the loss of loved ones. This institution will stand with communities across America as they rebuild and recover.
With the many challenges facing our nation and the world, including devastating natural disasters and the high cost of living, we cannot wait any longer to pass this bill. This bill guarantees that we have the means to continue the important work we are doing to help middle class and working families with the cost of living, support vulnerable Americans by keeping roofs over the heads of millions of families and food on their tables, uphold our commitment to our veterans, and strengthen our national security. But this is not enough, and this solution is only a short-term one.
The Appropriations Committee and House Democrats worked to clear all 12 government funding bills out of Committee and pass six on the floor of the House this summer. These are transformational bills needed to meet the moment and tackle our nation’s biggest challenges. The legislation before us allows additional time for bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to enact final 2023 funding bills.
This bill also includes $12.35 billion in necessary emergency funding to support the Ukrainian people and global democracy in the face of Russia’s grievous invasion of Ukraine. This body came together twice earlier this year to deliver on our commitment to the courageous people of Ukraine, but most of those resources have already been disbursed or committed. For that reason, this bill includes necessary security assistance for Ukraine, including $3 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption and $1.5 billion to replenish US stocks of equipment sent through drawdown authority. We also help Ukraine protect its democracy by supporting the continuity of its democratic government and delivery of citizen services with $4.5 billion. This contribution ensures we continue upholding our moral responsibility to support the people of Ukraine in the face of a vicious invasion that continues to demand decisive action from us. The bill also includes safeguards over these funds, such as a requirement of third-party monitoring and a certification by the Secretary of State that protects against corruption. With $2 million for the DoD Inspector General to monitor funds and provide Congress with a report inventorying security assistance, we ensure weapons are used for their intended purpose by their intended recipients.
At the same time, this bill responds to the devastation that recent natural disasters and extreme weather events have left behind. As the climate crisis wreaks havoc on communities all over our nation, this legislation provides significant support for disaster response and recovery efforts. Included in this is a critical $20 million in funding to complete previously authorized Army Corps of Engineer projects that will help address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi and upgrade its water and wastewater infrastructure. In the wealthiest nation in the world, the bare minimum every person deserves is drinking water that is clean and safe. This bill gets us one step closer to that minimum.
By fully funding the Disaster Relief Fund, this bill responds to Hurricane Ian in Florida, to the crisis left behind in Puerto Rico after the devastating Hurricane Fiona, and to the severe storm, flooding, and landslides in Alaska, helping with recovery and disaster relief efforts. We also provide $1 billion in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help lower-income families cover the rising energy costs of home heating and cooling, include $2.5 billion to address the largest wildfire in New Mexico history that started from prescribed burns on federal land, and support these and other communities all over the nation –including in Kentucky, California, Louisiana, and Texas– by providing $2 billion to help address unmet housing, infrastructure, and economic recovery needs in communities recovering from recent wildfires, major storms, droughts, floods, and extreme heat.
While this legislation provides a bridge to an omnibus, it is not perfect. I am saddened that the continuing resolution does not fully meet some of our country’s most urgent needs, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox outbreak. I will continue working to provide the resources to combat these public health crises and support the areas in need of additional resources to recover from natural disasters. Despite these shortcomings, the investments included in this bill are urgent and necessary to avoid disruptions to vital federal agencies, to help communities get back on their feet, and to ensure we have the time needed to negotiate a final funding agreement that meets the needs of hardworking people.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I reserve the balance of my time.