DeLauro Statement to Rules Committee on Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act

2022-09-29 18:04

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of H.R. 6833, the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023:

Thank you, Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and Members of the Rules Committee for the opportunity to appear before you to present H.R. 6833, the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, which extends funding for critical federal programs and services through December 16. In a 72-25 vote, the Senate approved this legislation with the support of all Democrats and 22 Republicans, including Senators Shelby and McConnell.

I want to start by acknowledging the countless people across 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 the United States as they rebuild and recover from this devastation.

Along with increasing natural disasters and extreme weather events, people all over our nation and the world face serious challenges, including the high cost of living, a war in Ukraine increasing energy prices, and natural disasters raging through communities everywhere. Americans living paycheck to paycheck are struggling.

The legislation before us today is the lifeline Americans need today. It provides assistance to families and communities in need and it avoids disruptions to vital federal agencies, while guaranteeing the additional time for bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to enact final 2023 funding bills. But this is only a short-term solution.

In March, Congress passed the 2022 government funding package with overwhelming bipartisan support. And this summer, the Appropriations Committee, as the Chairman stated, cleared 12 and the full House passed six 2023 funding bills that ensure we live up to our responsibility to support Americans in the ways they need most. People in every corner of our nation, at every stage of their lives, are counting on us to pass these bills that lower costs, fight inflation, create American jobs, and support working families everywhere.

Funding in the continuing resolution also guarantees we continue upholding our responsibility to the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia’s unprovoked invasion, which is an assault on democracy. Congress came together twice before to provide critical security and economic support for the Ukrainian people. While those funds have already been disbursed or committed, the fight to protect global democracy in the face of Putin’s authoritarianism is ongoing.

For that reason, this bill provides $12.35 billion in assistance related to Ukraine, including $4.5 billion in economic assistance to directly help protect Ukraine’s democracy and ensure its government services continue. We also include $3 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to provide the equipment, training, and weapons that the Ukrainian military and national security forces need to continue protecting the Ukrainian people and $1.5 billion to replenish US stocks of equipment sent through drawdown authority. 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.

As a note, I might add, I met with Ukrainian parliamentarians yesterday, including the ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Markarova, and I asked about the question of accountability. The Ukrainians now have barcoded U.S. military equipment so they can track it, change it. They have, in their parliament, an accounting agency and one that is dealing with anticorruption. So the Ukrainians are very, very much concerned, as we are, about accountability and they’ve taken very serious steps to move forward.

As we protect people around the world, we must also provide disaster relief to communities in this country who are reeling from the devastation of natural disasters and extreme weather events made worse by the climate crisis. This bill includes $20 million for previously authorized water infrastructure projects that can be used to address the crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, and support the hundreds of thousands of people who have been in desperate need of safe and clean water and water infrastructure for months. Our bill also includes $1 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help lower-income families cover the rising energy costs of home heating and cooling.

With the full annual funding for the Disaster Relief included in this bill, we help protect the millions of Floridians, Puerto Ricans, and Alaskans suffering from the effects of a severe storm, flooding, and landslides. We provide $2.5 billion to address the largest wildfires in New Mexico history that were started by prescribed burns on federal land that got out of control. And as families struggle with the impact of floods, wildfires, major storms, droughts, and extreme heat— including in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Kentucky, California, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas— this bill provides $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief to help rebuild housing and public infrastructure and to restore the economy in these affected communities.

While I am saddened that aid necessary to combat the COVID pandemic and Monkeypox outbreak were not included, the investments included in this bill are critical. As we continue working toward final full year funding bills, this legislation will make a real difference in the lives of every American, strengthen our commitment to the Ukrainian people, and help Americans recover from recent natural disasters.  

I thank you, Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole. I request an appropriate rule for Floor consideration of H.R. 6833, and I look forward to answering your questions.

117th Congress