Granger Remarks on Four-Bill Appropriations Package

Jun 12, 2019

WASHINGTON – Today, top Appropriations Committee Republican Kay Granger (R-TX) delivered the following remarks on H.R. 2740, a four-bill appropriations package.

Mister Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 2740.

The Appropriations Committee has held more than 120 hearings this year on topics ranging from our nation’s defense priorities to the crisis of unaccompanied children coming to the southern border.  

We have now marked up all twelve of the bills in Subcommittee and Full Committee.

Unfortunately, each bill brought before the Committee was written to an unrealistic topline funding number - $176 billion above current budget caps.

We still do not have consensus on a budget agreement for fiscal year 2020, which could lead to sequestration, resulting in devastating cuts to our military.

Moving these bills as-is is a wasted opportunity because these bills are far from what the President has requested and will support. 

Defense spending does not meet the request, while non-defense spending greatly exceeds the request and current levels. 

This could lead to a veto and another government shutdown. 

In addition to these funding concerns, these bills have unfortunately become partisan vehicles, reversing pro-life policies and risking the safety and security of the American people.

Many provisions in these bills also force a return to policies of the previous Administration and place unnecessary restrictions on federal agencies. 

For example, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Division of this five-bill package:

  • Includes $100 million to help people sign up for Obamacare;
  • Forces the Administration to send grants to Planned Parenthood clinics; and
  • Blocks pro-life rules from going into effect.

Similarly, the State and Foreign Operations division:

  • Prevents implementation of the President's expanded Mexico City policy;
  • Provides $479 million to repay United Nations peacekeeping costs even though the U.N. has not made the required reforms; and
  • Prohibits funds to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

For defense, there is no funding for any type of barrier or fence along the southwest border. 

There are also other harmful reductions.

  • Procurement is $4.8 billion below the FY19 level and
  • Research and development is $2.2 billion below the request.

These cuts are very concerning because we will not be able to keep up with Russia and China.

The bill also repeals the Authorization of the Use of Military Force, which would jeopardize the Defense Department’s ability to conduct military operations worldwide.

This is a bad policy that will force the D.O.D. to unwind counterterrorism operations overseas if the Congress and the President cannot agree on a new authorization.

The Energy and Water division only includes half of the requested funding for our nuclear weapons stockpile. 

There is also no funding for a permanent site for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

I had hoped that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would make in order an amendment to address immediate needs on our southwest border. 

The Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Mr. Rogers, and I submitted an amendment to the Rules Committee that unfortunately will not be debated today.  This is yet another missed opportunity to address the humanitarian and security crisis.

There were 144,000 apprehensions of migrants at the border last month, making apprehensions this year alone equivalent to the population of Atlanta. 

By the end of the fiscal year, apprehensions could reach one million.

The most troubling statistics are on the number of unaccompanied children coming to the border. 

Last week, approximately 2,500 children and teenagers were sleeping on the ground, waiting to be referred to the Department of Health and Human Services to be connected with family members and sponsors.  H.H.S. expects 100,000 children and teens to be referred for placement this fiscal year.  

Unfortunately, our agencies do not have the resources needed to care for these children, and in fact, H.H.S. could run out of money by the end of this month.

If we are not going to address this problem in this bill, we need to come together and pass a stand-alone bill to meet these needs.

We were all elected to responsibly represent the best interests of our constituents, and this package falls short.

We cannot afford to over fund non-defense programs, under fund defense initiatives, load these bills with controversial poison pill riders, and ignore the situation on our southern border.

This package does just that, risking both our economic and national security.

I know that my colleague and friend, Chairwoman Lowey, has worked tirelessly to get us to this point today, and she and her Subcommittee Chairs included many bipartisan priorities. 

Unfortunately, on balance, these bills are partisan measures, and I cannot support them in their current form.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop a bipartisan budget agreement and to remove controversial language and funding in a final appropriations package. 

I strongly urge my colleagues to vote no on this package today.

I reserve the balance of my time.