A picture of Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Eddie J.
Democrat TX 30

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  • Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

    by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson

    Posted on 2013-03-06

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    JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I oppose H.R. 933, which appropriates money for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and funds the rest of the government until the end of the Fiscal Year 2013. This bill maintains the across the board sequestration cuts that took effect last Friday. Democratic Members of Congress have repeatedly called for a common sense, bipartisan solution to avoid the sequester, and have been met by nothing but inaction by our colleagues in the majority.



    These indiscriminate cuts will seriously jeopardize the economic stability of this country. While our economy is still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression, sequestration will have the effect of slowing the recovery and costing 750,000 jobs.

    While the worst consequences of the sequester have not yet been realized, the wheels have now been set in motion. We are on a course that will have real impacts for millions of Americans. Furlough notices are going out to thousands of federal employees and contractors, and many services will begin to slow.

    Programs and services that millions of Americans rely on like Head Start, nutrition programs like WIC, and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be crippled by these cuts in funding. The critical support that our communities depend upon--the law enforcement officers who protect us, the air traffic controllers who keep our skies safe, FDA food inspectors, and the CDC's funding for disease prevention--all of it is being slashed.

    Mr. Speaker, in short the Republicans are putting the ability of our government to function at risk, and they are jeopardizing the safety and security of millions of families across this country.

    Mr. BRALEY of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I rise today against H.R. 933. This bill includes reckless, across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester, which have a disproportionate impact on critical programs that serve those in our nation's most vulnerable communities. Because Congress is unwilling to act responsibly, drastic cuts are set to go into effect with this bill, and hundreds of Iowa kids will bear the burden of lawmakers' inaction by no longer having access to Head Start services. Investments for children's education will be cut. Additionally, the bill could impact other everyday services such as the closure of hundreds of air traffic control towers throughout the country, including three in Iowa. Along with the harmful cuts that the sequester brings, the Defense Appropriations portion of the bill continues to fund $87 billion dollars towards the war in Afghanistan. We need to bring our brave men and women serving in uniform home rather than continue to fund a war that has lasted longer than a decade.

    Although I oppose the bill in its current form, there are many provisions in the bill that I do support. I applaud the 1.7 percent pay increase for military personnel. I support the continuation of a pay freeze for Members of Congress. I also support the increased funding for embassy security following the needs identified after the Benghazi attacks. I am also pleased to know that the bill provides for substantial foreign aid to our ally Israel.

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