Funding Bill is Reflection of Prioritiesby Representative Ruben Gallego
Posted on 2015-12-17
GALLEGO. The omnibus has been billed as a compromise, but in
reality it is packed with Republican policy provisions that only
compromise our values.
The omnibus bill should be about funding the government, not about pushing through policies that would never receive enough votes to pass on their own. Asking us to support this bill is asking us to support bad policy.
Among the legislation's many serious shortcomings is its failure to address the mounting fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico.
Mr. Speaker, the people of Puerto Rico are American citizens. They vote in our elections. They swear allegiance to our flag, they fight, and they die in our wars. Yet, at a time when massive bills are coming due, this Congress has turned its back on Puerto Rico.
Including a provision in the omnibus to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt wouldn't cost the American taxpayer one penny. We did not put that in. Every single State in this union can access the protections afforded by chapter 9. Puerto Rico is unfairly denied this ability. That is simply unfair, and our refusal to come to the island's aid is un-American.
Mr. Speaker, the omnibus will also deal a blow to our efforts to save our planet. Less than a week after reaching a historic climate change pact in Paris, Republicans want to undo the progress made by giving Big Oil a major victory, while leaving our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico behind.
Lifting the oil export ban on the heels of new studies warning against the drastic rates of warming of lakes across the country and around the world is a major blow to all efforts made in Paris.
According to the Energy Information Administration, lifting the ban will increase gross profits of the oil industry by more than $20 billion annually, at the direct expense of America's wildlife and natural resources. By the oil industry's own projections, lifting the ban will result in more than 7,500 additional wells being drilled annually, resulting in the degradation of more than one million square acres of wildlife habitat.
Increasing drilling without protections for wildlife, and without permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, takes us backwards and will harm domestic jobs, while exacerbating the huge challenges we currently face in preserving our outdoor heritage and tackling climate change.
Mr. Speaker, Democrats are being asked to supply two-thirds of the votes for this bill, but this agreement does not reflect even two- thirds of our values. We should reject this bad deal for Americans.
Mrs. WATSON COLEMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.