Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016by Representative Nita M. Lowey
Posted on 2015-12-16
LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
For the second time in a week, I rise in half-hearted support for the continuing resolution before us. This is the third time the Republican majority has brought us to the brink of a shutdown in just the past 11 weeks. It has been over 2\1/2\ months since we passed a bipartisan 2- year budget agreement that set guidelines for appropriations. We should have final bills signed into law by now. There are no excuses for these constant delays.
Unfortunately, Republicans' insistence on including dangerous, harmful policies in spending bills that would restrict women's reproductive health decisions, harm the environment, and roll back consumer protections, just to name a few, delayed the ability of Congress to come to a fair, bipartisan agreement on time.
However, we did know throughout this process that Republicans would need Democratic votes to pass the omnibus. That is why I am pleased to say we were able to get rid of more than 150 poison pill riders, including those related to women's health, labor, such as efforts to block the fiduciary rule and the joint employer rule, consumer financial protection, clean air and water--all gone. However, I was disappointed we were unable to reverse a 19-year-old prohibition on Federal funding for the research of gun violence.
The budget agreement enacted in November provided additional funding, allowing us to make critical investments, reflecting Democratic values. There are some large increases to the National Institutes of Health and the Army Corps of Engineers, for example, Head Start, energy research, COPS hiring, nutrition funding, and so much more. We also prevented further cuts to the EPA and other agencies routinely targeted by Republicans. I am disappointed that the omnibus does not deal adequately with Puerto Rico's crisis. It does carry the 9/11 health and compensation fund. The omnibus carries some tax matters, including the Cadillac tax and solar and wind tax credits.
In all, the package is a mixed bag. Each Member will have to read the details for him- or herself.
While I will vote to keep the government open today, Mr. Speaker, the American people deserve a Congress that does its job on time and puts the interests of hardworking families ahead of special interests.
I yield back the balance of my time.