Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
Posted on 2015-12-17
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Speaker, as the ranking member of the
Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I can attest that
Division F of the bill before us today, which provides funds for the
Department of Homeland Security, is the result of careful
consideration, intense scrutiny, and bipartisan collaboration. I want
to thank Chairman Carter for his leadership and his partnership in
crafting our portion of the bill.
The bill provides significant resources for critical priorities, including funding: to recapitalize the Coast Guard air and marine fleets; to fully fund FEMA's disaster relief activities, including wildfire management assistance grants, and to significantly enhance support for flood mapping and pre-disaster mitigation; to maintain funding for FEMA terrorism preparedness grants, including $50 million in new funding to help communities counter violent extremism and prepare for complex, coordinated terrorist attacks; to allow the Secret Service to continue implementing the recommendations of the Protective Mission Panel; and to enhance cybersecurity across the federal government, along with significant additional funds to help protect DHS's own cyber systems.
I am pleased that the bill does not include the harmful immigration policy riders that were adopted during committee consideration of the House bill.
I am also pleased that the omnibus incorporates a number of amendments and priorities I fought for during the Appropriations Committee markups. These include my amendment with Congresswoman Lee which creates and funds a comprehensive, non-partisan child poverty study, and my amendment to defund the licensing or relicensing of Class B animal dealers who sell ``random source'' dogs and cats for use in research. It is also important to note that my colleagues and I were successful in preserving funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
This funding bill is not entirely what I had hoped for. Many of my colleagues feel the same way, and I share many of their concerns.
[[Page E1835]] I was extremely disappointed that provisions to help our U.S. Citizen Puerto Rican brothers and sisters manage the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico were not included in the bill. The residents of Puerto Rico are suffering, and we have a responsibility to provide them with the tools they need to rebuild their economy.
I was also disappointed that on the heels of a historic climate change agreement, the bill includes a giveaway to Big Oil by ending the 40-year prohibition on the exportation of crude oil. This prohibition was set in place to help our country achieve energy independence and to protect national security and economic interests. Lifting this ban will only hinder our goals and harm American refinery jobs, all for the sake of a handout to Big Oil.
However, without this omnibus bill, my home state of California and communities across the country would be faced with the uncertain funding level of a continuing resolution, or, in the worst case, the effects of a government shutdown.
We cannot risk another government shutdown or another year of flat funding for the critical programs our communities need. On balance, I believe this bill should move forward. For that reason, I ask for an aye vote.