DeLauro Statement to Rules Committee on Government Funding Legislation

2022-03-09 02:19

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider H.R. 2471, an omnibus of 12 fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills and supplemental funding to support Ukraine and manage the COVID-19 pandemic:

I thank you Chairman McGovern, thank you Ranking Member Cole. To the Members of the Committee, both those who are here in person, those who I can see visually.

This is, I believe, a historic moment. As I mentioned, it’s a $1.5 trillion package before us. In fact, it is the largest increase for non-defense discretionary funding in four years – it’s a 6.7 percent increase that will have a real impact in the lives of everyday Americans. In the defense portion of the bill, which I support very strongly and which is robust is at 5.6 percent. But we have not seen an increase in non-defense discretionary spending in a number of years. What we will do with this: We help working families. We help them with the rising costs of living. We create American jobs. And we care for the vulnerable who work hard. We support small businesses that are the backbone of our communities.

The funding in this bill expands child care and early learning programs, it strengthens public schools, it makes college more affordable, and it bolsters job training. It puts people to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, our bridges, our transit systems, water infrastructure. It unlocks the funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and the Jobs Act. And, as I know Members on both sides of the dais appreciate, we are directly investing in all of our districts through Community Project Funding for the first time in 10 years. This bill supports the vulnerable by meeting Americans’ basic needs, by strengthening nutrition assistance, funding more affordable housing, and addressing gender-based violence.

It also tackles our nation’s biggest challenges. It confronts the climate crisis with funding to support environmental protection, land conservation, and clean energy development. And it helps make health care more affordable by rebuilding our public health infrastructure, investing in lifesaving biomedical research, and confronts urgent health crises, including maternal health, mental health, and opioid abuse.

Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member we are all deeply moved – we can’t stay away from the TV and watching what is happening in Ukraine. I was deeply moved by our meeting with President Zelensky over the weekend. And this bill responds to Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression vicious invasion of Ukraine with $13.6 billion in emergency assistance to support the people of Ukraine and their neighbors.

And the bill also responsibly addresses our national security with funding for a robust mix of diplomacy, defense, and global development. That includes funding to vaccinate the world as part of a $15.6 billion supplemental to manage the coronavirus both here at home and around the globe.

It also includes matters in the jurisdiction of other Committees that have been agreed on a bipartisan, bicameral basis.

Indeed, this bill has been a long time coming. And I would like to close with something that Frances Perkins, the first female Secretary of Labor, said in her farewell address to the U.S. Department of Labor in 1945: ‘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 the 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.

So I believe we are seeing a government that bends over backwards today for working families and not just for the wealthiest one tenth of the one precent or the largest corporations who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Today, we are here for the people of this country who deserve our help and our support. 

I respectfully request an appropriate rule for Floor consideration of this legislation and I look forward to answering any questions.

117th Congress