DeLauro Floor Remarks on Government Funding Legislation

2022-03-09 20:38

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of  H.R. 2471, an omnibus of 12 fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills and supplemental funding to support Ukraine:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of our 2022 government funding legislation. This package makes historic investments in the middle class and people who are living paycheck to paycheck.

They deserve a government that, instead of catering to the wealthy and big corporations, bends over backwards to support them. By providing a 6.7 percent increase for non-defense funding – the largest increase in four years – that is exactly what we are doing.

What a marker we have put down. That is translated into the funding for Agriculture, increased by 6 percent. Energy and Water, increased by 6.6 percent. 5.7 percent increase for Financial Services and General Government. 5.2 percent increase for Interior and Environment. In the 7.5 percent increase for Transportation and Housing. 11.8 percent increase for Legislative Branch, which includes support for the Capitol Police who put their lives on the line defending this body. And a 7.5 percent increase we are providing for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to support Americans at every stage of their lives. 

That is what this bill represents. After years of stalled investments in each area. And with the funding included in this package, we are helping working families with the cost of living. We are helping students pay for the high cost of education and giving hard-working families a better chance to own their homes. And we are connecting rural communities to the internet so that they can reach their full potential.

We are putting Americans back to work by creating jobs here in America, helping small businesses, supporting job training, rebuilding our infrastructure, including unlocking the full funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

We are supporting the vulnerable by feeding the hungry and the food insecure through nutrition assistance, making housing more affordable and addressing gender-based violence.

And we are tackling our toughest challenges, confronting climate change through environmental enforcement. We are supporting Environmental Justice with $100 million, an $83 million increase over last year. We are making historic investments in clean energy and climate science.

By rebuilding our public health infrastructure, investing in lifesaving biomedical research, with $3.2 billion, an increase of $104 million for HIV/AIDS research, and confronting urgent health crises, we are making health care more affordable for more Americans.

And we are going to ensure that big corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share to support these investments by increasing funding for the IRS to $12.6 billion.

Think about, think about the leaders that we hope to emulate as we entered public life, all of us. Leaders like Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Labor and one of the principal architects of the New Deal. She once said, and I quote, ‘I came to Washington to work for God, FDR and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen’ and I add women. She, as well as my parents, told me to battle for working people, never to take no for an answer. They said work for the everyday citizen.

And that is why, with this government funding legislation, that is why we are here tonight as well to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. As the world watches in horror, civilians – including children, the ill, expectant mothers – are being targeted by Russia’s unprovoked and utterly inhumane attacks.

We are becoming witness to one of the worst humanitarian crises we have seen in generations. Which is why this bill provides $13.6 billion in humanitarian assistance, defense support, and economic aid to help the Ukrainian people in their most desperate hour of need. 

We care for our service members and our veterans by providing $224 million for the military’s Child Development Centers, strengthening the VA with $598 million for suicide prevention outreach of Veterans and $840.4 million for Gender-specific Care and Programmatic Efforts for Women.

At Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, which I am honored to chair, we are going even further to expand access to education, Head Start, child care, lifesaving biomedical research, public health, maternal health, mental health, job training, and worker protection. And we support workers and support the skills they need to succeed.

We deliver for our students by providing the largest increase to Pell Grants since the Recovery Act of 2009. By investing $14.5 billion for Special Education programs, $75 million for Full Service Community Schools, $17.5 billion to support low-income students, we are giving millions of students a chance to access higher education and unlock a lifetime of opportunity.

We make health care more affordable and accessible for more Americans. With $8.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we bolster public health infrastructure. We confront pressing health crises with $1 billion for maternal and child health, $2 billion for mental health, and $3.9 billion for substance use treatment.

Finally, we are strengthening lifesaving biomedical research and accelerating the pace of scientific breakthroughs with $6.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute and $1 billion to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Together, we are accelerating the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.

I must, however, express my disappointment that the Hyde Amendment remains in this bill. I am the first Appropriations Chair since 1977 to remove it, because I understand that this is an offensive and discriminatory policy, which has shut out countless women from the reproductive health care that they deserve for more than 40 years. While Republicans blocked our efforts, I will never stop fighting to ensure equal treatment for women.

Ten bills in this package include Community Project Funding, which meets urgent needs in districts across the country and sends a clear message to the American people that Congress is working for them.

As I conclude, as Frances Perkins said in her farewell address: ‘there is always a large horizon, and it is up to us to contribute some small part to a program of human betterment for all time.’

And I believe that through this government funding package, we are proving that that horizon is not only large, but it is endless.

There is no limit to what we can achieve. And for the first time in a long time, I believe we show just how government can work for working people once again and to achieve the betterment of humankind.

And with that, I urge your support for this transformative investment in working families, and reserve the balance of my time.

117th Congress