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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on the bill, H.R. 3547, the bipartisan ``Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014.'' I want to thank Chairman Rodgers and Ranking Member Lowey for their constructive work in fashioning this bipartisan and bicameral legislation to fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014.



    The bill before us is not perfect--far from it--but it is a modest and positive step toward preventing Republicans from shutting down the government again and manufacturing crises that only harm our economy, destroy jobs, and weaken our middle class.

    As with any compromise there are some things in the agreement that I support and some things that I do not.

    The bill abides by all the terms set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (the ``Ryan-Murray Agreement''), providing a total of $1.012 trillion for the operation of the federal government, a substantial and necessary increase over the inadequate $968 billion spending limit contained in the House budget resolution which led to the shutdown of the federal government last October.

    The bill contains all 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014, with no area of the government functioning under a Continuing Resolution, thus allowing every program to be considered on its own merits and prioritized, rather than be subject to arbitrary across the board cuts.

    The bill also provides increases funding for several programs that I strongly support. Let me list just a few of the more important ones.

    AGRICULTURE AND RELATED AGENCIES $6.7 billion for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), sufficient to meet expected need in 2014.

    COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES $17.65 billion for NASA, which is $154.8 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $376 million for Byrne-JAG grants, which is $8.3 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $11 million more than the post- sequester level; $214 million for the COPS program, which is $4 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $4 million more than the post- sequester level; $417 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs, which is $9.1 more than the 2013 enacted level; and the bill rejects House proposals to prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to challenge state immigration laws; and prohibit grants from being awarded to ``sanctuary'' cities.

    DEFENSE Multiple provisions focused on eliminating sexual assault in the Department of Defense and supporting victims, including: (1) Fully funds request of $156.5 million for Sexual Assault and Prevention Office (SAPRO) services; (2) $25 million above request to implement a Sexual Assault Special Victims Program; (3) Prohibition on obligation of funds contravening more severe penalties for perpetrators established in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

    Fully funds Peer Reviewed Medical Research Programs and includes $125 million above the request for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Psychological Health research and $4 million above the request for alcohol and substance abuse research.

    The final agreement repeals last year's cut to cost of living adjustments for disabled military retirees and survivors.

    ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES $1.912 billion for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, which is $102 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $5.467 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is $495 million more than the 2013 enacted level (excluding emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy relief); $1.11 billion for water resources projects within the Department of Interior, which is $46 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and the agreement eliminates the majority of riders proposed in the House bill, including those related to Waters of the United States, guns on Corps lands, Clean Water Act agriculture exemptions and ceiling fan standards.

    FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT $673.3 million for the District of Columbia, which is roughly equal to the 2013 enacted level.

    HOMELAND SECURITY $10.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $220.4 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $4.93 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, which is $225.8 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $923.8 million for Cybersecurity and Communications, an increase of $27.5 million above the 2013 enacted level; $4.35 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, $3.8 million above the 2013 enacted level; $1.5 billion for State and Local Grants, an increase of $35.4 million above the 2013 enacted level; and $680 million for Firefighter Grants, an increase of $5.7 million above the 2013 enacted level.

    Controversial House riders related to abortion services and immigration enforcement are not included in the bill. Among the contentious riders dropped was a provision to prohibit ICE from adhering to enforcement guidance, including a June 15, 2012, memo prioritizing enforcement actions against dangerous criminals ahead of DREAM Act children.

    INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES $3.938 billion for wildland fire, which is $417 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $4.4 billion for the Indian Health Service, which is $78 million more than the 2013 enacted level; A total of $2.35 billion for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Funds, which is only $4.7 million less than 2013 enacted levels but $119 million more than the post-sequester level; $2.6 billion for the National Park Service, which is $29 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $146 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is equal to their 2013 enacted levels.

    LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES $8.6 billion for Head Start, which is $612 million more than the 2013 enacted level, sufficient to both fully restore the cuts to Head Start and to invest in the Administration's Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships; $2.6 billion for job training through WIA Training and Employment Formula Grant program, which is $10 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $121 million more than the post-sequester level; $815 million for Seniors' Nutrition programs, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level and $46 million more than the post-sequester level, allowing full restoration of meals; and $2.36 billion for Child Care & Development Block Grants, which is $36 million more than the 2013 enacted level.

    The agreement abandons the futile but wasteful effort by House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and provides the Department of HHS roughly the same amount as it had last year for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and some additional funds will become available through existing fees on policies sold on the exchanges.

    MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES $63.2 billion in discretionary funding for Veterans Affairs, which is $2.3 billion more than the 2013 enacted level; $585.6 million for prosthetic research, which is $3.5 million above the 2013 enacted level.

    The Omnibus provides new tools and resources to address the backlog of veterans disability claims by increasing personnel, enhancing training and quality oversight, and strengthening accountability.

    STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED AGENCIES The final agreement does not include a policy rider codifying the `Global Gag Rule,' which prohibits non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving federal funds from providing women information about certain health services.

    I would have preferred that the bill provide more than $2.67 billion for Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance, an amount that is $224 million less than the 2013 enacted level. Our diplomats who risk their lives serving in dangerous outposts around the world deserve all the resources required to keep them safe.

    TRANSPORTATION, AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES $600 million for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER), which is $100 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $17.4 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance renewals, which is $123 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $9.6 billion for Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance renewals, which is $596 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $1 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level.

    The bill does not include any funds for high-speed rail. I believe this decision is short-sided and short changes our Nation's future. High-speed rail will save energy, create jobs, and increase our Nation's global competitiveness.

    As I stated, this bill is not perfect. But on balance it is a significant improvement over the spending bills considered in the House last year and is worthy of our support.

    [[Page H448]] Summary H.R. 3547--Consolidated Appropriations Act of (Omnibus) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014 AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level: $20.7 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $19.5 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: 20.9 billion.

    $6.7 billion for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), sufficient to meet expected need in 2014; $1.47 billion for Food for Peace (P.L. 480) grants, which is $33 million more than the 2013 enacted level. The agreement retains Senate language increasing flexibility in managing the Food for Peace program that seeks to reduce the need for monetization; $215 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is $10.1 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $2.55 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is $96 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $1.1 billion for USDA Rental Assistance Program, which is $227 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $1.01 billion for the USDA food safety and inspection program, which is $17 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $24 million more than the post-sequester level.

    COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level: $50.1 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $47.4 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $51.6 billion.

    $5.3 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is $320.4 more than the 2013 enacted level; $953.6 million for National Weather Service operations, which is $46.7 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $945 million for the Census Bureau, which is $57.6 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $3 billion for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is equal to CBO's projection of PTO's FY2014 fee revenue collections; $850 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is $42.9 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $8.3 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is $248.7 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $2.02 billion for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which is $9.6 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $1.18 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is $49.6 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $6.77 billion for the Bureau of Prisons, Salaries and Expenses account, which is $90.2 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $376 million for Byrne-JAG grants, which is $8.3 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $11 million more than the post-sequester level; $214 million for the COPS program, which is $4 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $4 million more than the post-sequester level; $417 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs, which is $9.1 more than the 2013 enacted level; $17.65 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is $154.8 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $7.2 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is $67.9 million below the 2013 enacted level.

    The Omnibus rejects House proposals to make permanent two annual riders related to firearms, and rejects the House proposal to block a reporting requirement on multiple sales of rifles/shotguns to the same person.

    The Omnibus rejects House proposals to prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to challenge state immigration laws; and prohibit grants from being awarded to ``sanctuary'' cities.

    DEFENSE 2013 total enacted level: $605.4 billion; 2014 total Committee mark: $592.8 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $572.6 billion.

    $85.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is $2 billion less than the 2013 enacted level; $128.8 billion for Military Personnel, which is $1.3 billion more than the 2013 enacted level; $159.9 billion for Operation and Maintenance, which is $13.6 billion less than the 2013 enacted level; $92.9 billion for Procurement, which is $7.5 billion less than the 2013 enacted level; and $63.0 billion for Research and Development, which is $6.9 billion less than the 2013 enacted level.

    Multiple provisions focused on eliminating sexual assault in the Department of Defense and supporting victims, including: (1) Fully funds request of $156.5 million for Sexual Assault and Prevention Office (SAPRO) services; (2) $25 million above request to implement a Sexual Assault Special Victims Program; (3) Prohibition on obligation of funds contravening more severe penalties for perpetrators established in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

    To facilitate integration of electronic health records between DoD and VA, the agreement restricts funding for the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) program pending a report on cost, schedule, and adherence to data standards and acquisition guidance.

    Fully funds Peer Reviewed Medical Research Programs and includes $125 million above the request for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Psychological Health research and $4 million above the request for alcohol and substance abuse research.

    $20 million above the request for suicide prevention and outreach; $173 million above the request for Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense programs, and $15 million above the request for Iron Dome; $175 million above the request for the Defense Rapid Innovation Program to incorporate small business developments into DoD programs; $1 billion above the request to enhance National Guard and Reserve equipment; and $1.2 billion above the request for the Virginia Class Submarine and $324 million above the request for Navy surface combatant force structure. This will help DoD meet national security priorities, including the focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

    The final agreement repeals last year's cut to cost of living adjustments for disabled military retirees and survivors.

    ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level (excluding Sandy reconstruction): $33.2 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $30.4 billion; 2014 Omnibus: $34.1 billion.

    $1.912 billion for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, which is $102 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $5.071 billion for the Department of Energy Office of Science, which is $205 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $280 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy (ARPA-E), which is $15.5 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $5.8 billion for environmental cleanup activities, which is $111 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $7.845 billion for National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Weapons Activities (not including a $64 million rescission), which is $270 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $1.95 billion for Nuclear Nonproliferation, which is $480 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $70 million more than the President's budget request for similar activities; $1.095 billion for Naval Reactors, which is $15 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $5.467 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is $495 million more than the 2013 enacted level (excluding emergency funding for Hurricane Sandy relief); and $1.11 billion for water resources projects within the Department of Interior, which is $46 million more than the 2013 enacted level.

    The agreement eliminates the majority of riders proposed in the House bill, including those related to Waters of the United States, guns on Corps lands, Clean Water Act agriculture exemptions and ceiling fan standards.

    FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT 2013 enacted level: $21.25 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $17.0 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $21.85 billion.

    $11.9 billion for the Department of the Treasury, which is $301 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $11.3 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is $503 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $6.5 billion for the Judiciary, which is $12 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $317 more than the post- sequester level; $673.3 million for the District of Columbia, which is roughly equal to the 2013 enacted level; $1.35 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is $32 million more than the 2013 enacted level. $929.0 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is $114 million less than the 2013 enacted level as a result of reduced loan subsidy costs. $669.4 million for the Executive Office of the President, which is roughly equal to the 2013 enacted level; $9.37 billion for the General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Buildings Fund (FBF), which is $1.35 billion more than the 2013 enacted level; and $10 million for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is $1.5 million less than the 2013 enacted level.

    Policy riders that were in the House bill related to Cuba and prohibiting funding for the SEC to require the disclosure of political contributions have been dropped from the final agreement.

    HOMELAND SECURITY 2013 enacted level: $39.6 billion; 2014 House bill: $39.0 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $39.3 billion.

    $10.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $220.4 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $5.27 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $158.1 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $122.7 million more than the 2013 post-sequester level; $4.93 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, which is $225.8 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $10.2 billion for the Coast Guard, including $227 million for overseas contingency operations; the total amount is $202 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $309.2 million more than the 2013 post-sequester level. $1.59 billion for the Secret Service, which is $25.8 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $58.5 million more than the 2013 post-sequester level; [[Page H449]] $1.47 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, $31.9 million more than the 2013 enacted level, including: $923.8 million for Cybersecurity and Communications, an increase of $27.5 million above the 2013 enacted level; $4.35 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, $3.8 million above the 2013 enacted level, including: $1.5 billion for State and Local Grants, an increase of $35.4 million above the 2013 enacted level; and $680 million for Firefighter Grants, an increase of $5.7 million above the 2013 enacted level; and $1.2 billion for Science and Technology, $385.6 million above the 2013 level.

    Controversial House riders related to abortion services and immigration enforcement are not included in the bill. Among the contentious riders dropped was a provision to prohibit ICE from adhering to enforcement guidance, including a June 15, 2012, memo prioritizing enforcement actions against dangerous criminals ahead of ``certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this county as home.'' INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level: $29.8 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $24.3 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $30.1 billion.

    $3.938 billion for wildland fire, which is $417 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $4.4 billion for the Indian Health Service, which is $78 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $2.5 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is $18 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $8.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is $143 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $299 million more than the post-sequester level; A total of $2.35 billion for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Funds, which is $4.7 million less than 2013 enacted levels but $119 million more than the post-sequester level; $2.6 billion for the National Park Service, which is $29 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is $7 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $1.4 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is $32 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $45 million more than the post-sequester level; $2.4 billion for the U.S. Forest Service (non-fire), which is $52 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $146 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is equal to their 2013 enacted levels.

    The final agreement rejects egregious policy riders contained in the House bill, including (1) prohibiting regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities; and (2) prohibiting EPA from changing or supplementing guidance or rules clarifying Federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

    LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level: $156.6 billion; 2014 Committee mark: N/A; and 2014 Omnibus: $156.8 billion.

    $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which is $714 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $1.0 billion more than the post-sequester level; $6.8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is $369 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $2.6 billion for job training through WIA Training and Employment Formula Grant program, which is $10 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $121 million more than the post-sequester level; $2.36 billion for Child Care & Development Block Grants, which is $36 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $8.6 billion for Head Start, which is $612 million more than the 2013 enacted level, sufficient to both fully restore the cuts to Head Start and to invest in the Administration's Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships; $14.4 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, which is $103 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $625 million more than the post-sequester level; $11.5 billion for Special Education state grants (IDEA), which is $82 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $498 million more than the post-sequester level; $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)--the customary two-year advance apprropriation--which is the same funding level as was provided in the FY2013 bill for FY2015; $815 million for Seniors' Nutrition programs, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level and $46 million more than the post-sequester level, allowing full restoration of meals; $3.4 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is $40 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $169 million more than post-sequester; and $1.1 billion for Mental Health programs, which is $136 million more than the 2013 enacted level; The agreement provides the Department of HHS roughly the same amount as it had last year for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and some additional funds will become available through existing fees on policies sold on the exchanges.

    LEGISLATIVE BRANCH 2013 enacted level: $4.28 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $3.23 billion (House bills do not include Senate funding); and 2014 Omnibus: $4.26 billion.

    $1.181 billion for the US House of Representatives, which is $42.3 million less than the 2013 enacted level and $19 million more than the post-sequester level; $338.5 million for the Capitol Police, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level; $45.7 million for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is $2 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $505.4 million for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is roughly equal to the 2013 enacted level; $602.0 million for the Architect of the Capitol, which is $39.6 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $579.0 million for the Library of Congress, which is $8.4 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $119.3 million for the Government Printing Office (GPO), which is roughly equal to the 2013 enacted level.

    military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies 2013 enacted level: $71.9 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $73.3 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $73.3 billion $9.8 billion for Military Construction projects, which is $817 million below the 2013 enacted level, including: $1.5 billion for Family Housing construction, which is $133 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $451.4 million for the new combined Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) account, which is equal to the President's budget request; $380.8 million in rescissions from prior Appropriations Acts due to savings on projects and the decision to incrementally fund selected large projects; $63.2 billion in discretionary funding for Veterans Affairs, which is $2.3 billion more than the 2013 enacted level, including: As authorized by Congress in 2009, VA medical services accounts are provided funding one year in advance. The Omnibus includes the budget request for fiscal year 2015 advance funding of $55.6 billion.

    $3.7 billion for information technology systems, which is $378.7 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $585.6 million for prosthetic research, which is $3.5 million above the 2013 enacted level.

    The Omnibus provides new tools and resources to address the backlog of veterans disability claims by increasing personnel, enhancing training and quality oversight, and strengthening accountability.

    The Omnibus restricts VA's obligation of information technology funds until the VA reports detailed plans on budget, timeline, and testing to ensure reliable interoperability between current and future Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

    STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 total enacted level: $53.6 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $40.6 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $49.0 billion.

    $6.52 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is $4.68 billion less than the 2013 enacted level; $7.99 billion for Diplomatic and Consular Programs, including $1.9 billion for Worldwide Security Protection, which is $1.7 billion less than the 2013 enacted level due to significant carryover from prior year funds; $8.44 billion for Global Health, which is $37 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $380 million more than the post-sequester level; $2.51 billion for Development Assistance, which is $13 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $115 million more than the post-sequester level; $4.64 billion for Economic Support Funds (ESF), which is $1.48 billion less than the 2013 enacted level; $5.9 billion for Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which is $393 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $1.14 billion in base funding for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Operating Expenses, which is $207 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $898.2 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which is equal to the 2013 enacted level; $2.67 billion for Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance, which is $224 million less than the 2013 enacted level; $4.91 billion in total funding for humanitarian assistance accounts, which is $491 million more than the 2013 enacted level; and $575 million for bilateral family planning, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level.

    The final agreement does not include a policy rider codifying the `Global Gag Rule,' which prohibits non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving federal funds from providing women information about certain health services.

    TRANSPORTATION, AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 2013 enacted level: $51.8 billion; 2014 Committee mark: $44.1 billion; and 2014 Omnibus: $50.9 billion.

    $9.65 billion for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations, which is roughly equal to the FY2013 enacted level and $246 million more than the post-sequester level; $600 million for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER), which is $l00 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $2.13 billion for Capital Investment Grants, which is $177 million more [[Page H450]] than the 2013 enacted level; $1.39 billion for Amtrak capital and operating expenses, which is $28 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $45 million more than the post-sequester level; $819 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is $9 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $17.4 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance renewals, which is $123 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $9.6 billion for Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance renewals, which is $596 million more than the 2013 enacted level; $3.03 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which is $278 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $200 million more than the President's budget request; and $1 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships, which is equal to the 2013 enacted level.

    $110 million for Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, which is $10 million less than the 2013 enacted level.

    Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to today's measure, the consolidated appropriations act, which is a bill that funds our government under the agreement reached by Budget Committee Chairs Representative Ryan and Senator Murray. I do appreciate the long hours and cooperative work that the Budget Committees put into the agreement, and I appreciate the hard work of the appropriators to turn the agreement into dollar figures for each of the twelve subcommittees. I particularly appreciate the $40 million for veterans' suicide prevention and $508 million for the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences that I sought to have included.

    However, while this bill funds some good programs, it is premised on the deep, deep cuts of the sequester. The truth is that this bill is not a compromise--far from it. And it is not a good course for America to be on. To understand why, we must remember the history that led us to this moment.

    In the summer of 2011, Republicans held hostage America's economy. Republicans told the public that, unless Congress and the President gave into their unreasonable demands to extend the Bush tax cuts and slash spending, they would default on America's debts and thus destroy our nation's credit rating.

    In the face of such unconscionable threats, the President and many Members of Congress reluctantly agreed to sequestration--a policy that imposed blunt, stupid, across-the-board cuts in almost every federal program.

    No true compromise was possible in those 2011 negotiations because they occurred in the midst of a hostage crisis. No compromise is possible now because we are still operating within the framework created by that hostage crisis. This bill locks in place one of the greatest cuts in government services we have seen.

    So rather than accepting this bill because the appropriators are pleased with the ``compromise,'' I believe we must take a step back and ask: Does this bill take us to a future worthy of our great country? It does not. This bill is premised on the sequester. This bill allows most of the sequester cuts to take effect now and follows the budget agreement in allowing the full sequester to take effect two years from now. Even over the next two years, more than three-fourths of the sequestration cuts remain in place--cuts that gut research, education, health care, infrastructure and other investments necessary for a vibrant economy for the present and the future. This bill is the continuation of a pessimistic vision of our country, one with a drastically shrunken government, a shredded safety net, and a diminished ability to seize the opportunities and to address the challenges that lie before us.

    I have an optimistic vision for our country. Americans deserve a more optimistic vision for our country. We should match the amazing potential of our entrepreneurs and engineers with the support of an infrastructure that isn't crumbling. We should invest in research that enables our scientists and innovators to find cures for diseases, create new technologies, and develop alternative sources of energy. We should send the message that in the wealthiest nation on earth a child's education is paramount, that even in fiscally constrained times we won't deny access to Head Start or after-school programs, and that society will stand by workers on Main Street who face unemployment due to misdeeds on Wall Street.

    Instead, today this House embraces pessimism. Education, infrastructure of commerce, and scientific research? ``Oh,'' say the proponents of this pessimistic view, ``we cannot afford these things now and must take the bitter medicine of austerity.'' Soon I fear these cuts will run so deep they will be unable to heal.

    I am opposed to this bill because I believe that we can, and should, do more. There is no limit to what we can achieve if we only commit to achieving it. This positive approach has carried this country through good times and resulted in an amazing success story.

    I hope that in the coming months, we can return to an optimistic vision of our country.

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