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David P.
Democrat NC 4

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  • Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Development

    by Representative David E. Price

    Posted on 2014-12-11

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    PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this misguided legislation.

    First, however, I want to commend the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of our Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees for their efforts this year to restore the normal appropriations process, with careful scrutiny of executive budget requests and the cooperative crafting of bills that fund our agencies and chart their course for the coming year.

    Their work is reflected in the 11 bills--out of 12--before us today: a significant achievement, despite the overall inadequacy of the underlying budget numbers. The budget allocations, unfortunately, still reflect the ill-advised Republican strategy of focusing deficit reduction almost exclusively on nondefense discretionary spending, on our critical domestic investments.

    As ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, I particularly want to thank the gentleman from Texas, Chairman John Carter, for the collaborative process he has led throughout this year.

    Our full-year Homeland Security appropriations bill has been finished for over a week now, making its exclusion from this omnibus all the more troubling.

    So, Mr. Speaker, stitching together 11 of our appropriations bills is, indeed, a positive achievement, but it is greatly diminished by the subjection of Homeland Security funding to a short-term continuing resolution and by the inclusion of controversial legislative riders, of which two are particularly egregious.

    The first amendment would blow a major hole in the Dodd-Frank bill, putting taxpayers on the hook for some of the riskiest behavior of Wall Street institutions.

    The second amendment would blow another hole in our efforts to prevent big money from swamping our political system. The bill's campaign finance provisions are completely nongermane to appropriations and would provide outsized influence to the wealthiest Americans by allowing a couple to donate $1.5 million annually to party organizations. To my knowledge, these provisions have never had a single hearing in either the House or the Senate, and they have no place in an appropriations bill.

    On top of these troubling provisions is the shortsighted, abusive treatment of Homeland Security. The bill before us would force the Department of Homeland Security to operate under a short-term continuing resolution until late February, creating a cloud of uncertainty, putting critical programs and acquisitions at risk, and raising the threat of a full agency shutdown early next year.

    A short-term continuing resolution limits the Department's ability to make strategic decisions about carrying out its security missions and improving coordination among its components. It also limits the ability to move ahead with the Secretary's Southern Border and Approaches Campaign. It creates uncertainty regarding ICE's capability to detain and deport dangerous criminals and to transfer unaccompanied children to HHS for humane treatment. It could also delay needed procurements and necessary security upgrades at the White House complex to prevent fence-jumper intrusions.

    Most confoundingly, the bill provides immigration enforcement agencies with hundreds of millions of dollars less than their known needs and what our bipartisan bill would have provided.

    If the Republican majority is concerned about the effectiveness of our immigration policy, this is really a strange way to show it. To hold enforcement funding hostage is no way to bring about positive change. But we know this is all about political pique directed at the President.

    {time} 1300 This is an unfortunate end, Mr. Speaker, to what has been a cooperative, bipartisan Homeland Security appropriations cycle. It leaves me unable, in good conscience, to recommend a ``yea'' vote. We should reject this bill, put all of our 12 bills together, and proceed with an appropriations bill that can command wide agreement within this body.

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