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Jeff F.
Republican NE 1

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  • Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Development

    by Representative Jeff Fortenberry

    Posted on 2014-12-11

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    FORTENBERRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank our chairman, Mr. Rogers, for his steadfast commitment and hard work on this important bill.

    [[Page H9281]] Mr. Speaker, as President Kennedy once said, ``To govern is to choose,'' and the key here is to try and choose wisely.

    This bill is a result of a long and arduous and democratic process. It is a result of the extensive effort of the Appropriations Committee, with input from Members, to try and deliver effectively prioritized government services.

    Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree with everything in the bill. I don't think anyone here does. But the question is, are we going to move forward and govern a bit more towards something a bit better? And what is good in this bill? First of all, it continues to prioritize the right type of budgeting and reduce spending. The spending levels in the bill are $176 billion below fiscal year 2010 funding levels. Although our deficit has come down significantly through a smarter budgeting process and some tax reform, nonetheless our deficit is still way too high. We have work to do in this regard, and this bill does make significant progress on that front.

    There are also important reforms. Some big ones involve the IRS. Their problems that they imposed on the American people have begun to be curtailed here.

    Second, the bill also addresses the sad and difficult issue of the emerging need to fight Ebola and its spread.

    It positions the U.S. Congress, as well, to curtail the President's executive action on immigration moving forward, which represents a very serious overreach on the part of the administration and a threat to the separation of powers.

    The bill provides a pay raise for our troops and important funding for our veterans programs.

    Another fact, Mr. Speaker: I am on the agricultural subcommittee. We work very hard to continue our strong tradition of production agriculture while funding new emerging food systems that link the farmer to the family and help beginning and young farmers.

    Mr. Speaker, I think we can do better in certain areas, such as providing the right type of development assistance, which truly protects women and children and doesn't entangle us with organizations such as the U.N. Population Fund.

    But it is important to remember that in the volatile Middle East, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt continues to hold with significant commitment from us, and that is an important part of this bill.

    On balance, I will be supportive, and I want to thank Mr. Rogers, our chairman, for his leadership.

    Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro), the ranking minority member of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, as ranking member of the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee, I worked hard on this portion of the legislation, and there are some real bright spots.

    But our problem is simple. The resources provided in this bill are not adequate to tackle the challenges middle class families face every day. The bill does not keep pace with inflation. It continues to underfund some of our Nation's highest priorities: education, health care, medical research, and job training.

    However, there are many more troubling aspects of this bill. The Department of Homeland Security is only funded for 9 weeks. Why? Because the majority disagrees with the President on immigration. Holding up full-year funding for national security over an immigration disagreement is a game that poses a serious risk to our border, our Secret Service, and our ability to respond to natural disasters.

    The bill gambles with our financial system. It would reverse Dodd- Frank safeguards, allow banks to engage in some of Wall Street's riskiest transactions, the same transactions that caused a crisis in which millions of hardworking Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings. Why? Why would we want to put families at risk once again? Public funds should be used to protect our families, not to prop up casino banking.

    This bill threatens injustice to millions of seniors. It allows pension funds to reduce benefits to current retirees.

    {time} 1345 They worked hard for their retirement. They earned it. Would we want to put their economic security in jeopardy? Finally, the bill seeks to overturn some of the last remaining campaign finance laws, as if they were not generous enough. The American public is angry about a government that responds to the highest bidder.

    The majority's dangerous games benefit big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of working families and seniors, and I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.

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