Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2016by Representative Nita M. Lowey
Posted on 2015-12-11
LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in half-hearted support of the continuing resolution before us. While it saves hardworking Americans and our economy from a disastrous government shutdown, it reflects a failure of Congress to carry out one of our most basic constitutional responsibilities.
It has been 2\1/2\ months since the beginning of fiscal year 2016 and 6 weeks since we passed a bipartisan, 2-year budget agreement to set the guidelines for appropriations. There is no good reason we should not have passed spending bills by now to keep the government operating for the 2016 fiscal year.
The bill before us today should be bipartisan legislation that makes crucial investments in biomedical research, job training, and national security. The bill before us today should provide relief from harmful sequester caps that are hurting economic growth and families' pocketbooks. Instead, Republicans' insistence on including dangerous, harmful policies in the spending bills has halted progress.
Since the budget agreement, terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have brought to bear the need for improved security and closure in lax gun safety laws. Yet the majority wants to continue to deny even basic research on causes of gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control, not to mention we should be acting immediately to stop the legal purchase of guns by those on terrorist watch lists, an amendment I have introduced four times in 5 years that has been defeated every time in committee.
The process has stalled because Republicans insist on demonizing legal, women's reproductive health decisions, even putting women's jobs at risk if their employers do not agree with their health choices.
And finally, 2015 is on track to be the hottest year on record, with droughts leading to hunger and wildfires, and rising sea levels threatening to wipe away island nations. Yet Republicans demand measures that harm the environment, put the health and safety of Americans, their children, and the entire planet at risk.
I hope my colleagues will work together in the coming 5 days to agree on appropriations bills that invest in biomedical research, education, infrastructure, job training, and a strong national defense. Together, we can provide opportunities for hardworking families and build a 21st century workforce and a secure America.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.