Womack Remarks During Floor Consideration of H.R. 4664, The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to begin consideration of H.R. 4664, the Fiscal Year 2024 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.
Before I get into the details, I’d like to recognize the hard work of Chairwoman Granger on this bill and the entire appropriations process. We are one step closer to passing the last remaining few appropriations bills.
I also want to thank my good friend and Ranking Member Steny Hoyer for his input on this bill and the many conversations we’ve had. Steny is a dear, dear friend of mine. Somebody I've worked very closely with, not only with this bill but on other matters of importance to our country. I consider him a very dear, dear friend and it is an honor to have him at my side as the Ranking Member. And I mean that Steny, sincerely.
Mr. Chairman, I want you to look at these people right here. This is my team, and I know I am a bit prejudiced, Steny would probably say the same thing about his team - these are the best that we have. Lauren Flynn and her team, my personal staff - the work that they have put into this process is truly remarkable. I want the American people to know how dedicated these folks are in trying to deal with the challenges that face our country on an everyday basis, and in this case, the funding of our government. I could not do what I do, nor could any Member of this House of Representatives, no Member can do what they do, without the dedication of these people. It is not lost on me, and I want to publicly recognize them.
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 4664 provides $25.279 billion in non-defense discretionary spending across a number of critical agencies. The swath that we cover is incredible. It also includes $45 million in defense spending. It rejects over $6 billion in discretionary funding increases within the President’s Budget Request.
The bill represents an adequate level of funding, given our fiscal constraints. It is seven percent below the Fiscal Year 2023 enacted level and two percent below the Fiscal Year 2022 enacted level.
The bill provides the resources necessary to combat threats and protect the integrity of our financial and judicial system.
We claw back over $10 billion of unused and unobligated Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) IRS funding preventing the creation of a super army of IRS agents poised to target individuals and small business owners. This rescission does not touch Taxpayer Services or the Modernization of Business Systems, which means taxpayers will still be able to get the assistance they need to file their taxes and IRS can continue to modernize their systems and better protect taxpayer data from cyber-attacks.
We also rescind IRA money from the General Services Administration (GSA) targeted to make federal buildings greener. Instead of “leading by example” in the construction of sustainable buildings, GSA should lead by example by bringing their employees back to the office, like the private sector. I am proud this bill requires federal agencies to return to the office at pre-pandemic telework levels. We must hold the federal workforce accountable for the quality of their work and the service they provide to the American people. The Administration has been unwilling to make any real progress on this front and we cannot afford to have vacant federal buildings in the District and across our country.
The bill demands that agencies concentrate on their CORE mission. Let me say that again. It is important that the agencies that we fund stick to their core mission. The pursuit of job-killing, burdensome, and unnecessary regulations only serves to further bloat a federal bureaucracy that has become, in my strong opinion, too big, too intrusive, and counter-intuitive to limited government.
Specifically, we turn off rulemakings at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that lack proper cost-benefit analysis and aggregate impact analysis. Further, we prohibit agencies like the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from collecting and storing personal data that is unconstitutional and serves no regulatory purpose.
To be clear, the agencies under our jurisdiction perform important functions; however, many have strayed from their purpose and the results have been a true disservice to the American people. This bill responsibly returns them to their core mission.
Mr. Chair, this bill is a strong bill with funding reductions and policy wins. I urge its adoption and I reserve the balance of my time.