Lowey Floor Statement on Second FY2017 Continuing Resolution
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, today delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding the second FY2017 Continuing Resolution:
“Today we consider the second continuing resolution to keep most of the government open. To say that I am disappointed in this Band-Aid approach to operating the government would be an understatement.
“The legislation before us is an abdication of responsibility for the entire Congress. It is a disgrace that more than two months into the new fiscal year, Congress will kick the can down the road nearly another five months for purely partisan reasons. Having already failed this year to adopt a budget, pass Appropriations bills, and restore regular order, the majority’s failure to enact full-year funding is not surprising, but nonetheless shameful.
“Several administration requests were either not included or were drastically discounted. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would be frozen under this CR, likely causing staff furloughs and making it impossible to adequately protect market participants.
“I am extremely concerned the majority included just $7 million – one-fifth of the amount requested by the Administration and by New York City – to reimburse for the cost of helping New York and other state and local governments protect the President-elect until his inauguration. Local and state taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for the federal responsibility of protecting the President-elect. I view the amount in the CR as a down-payment and I am putting the Majority on notice that a future funding bill must fully cover these costs.
“At a time when economic hardship is common among those who have worked in unsafe and unhealthy coal mines, this Congress should be united in ensuring those men and women have both the health and pension benefits they have earned. These hardworking individuals need more than empty promises.
“I am pleased the CR provides additional funding to respond to natural disasters, to assist Flint, Michigan in recovering from a lead crisis, to respond to threats abroad, to prevent opioid addiction, and to support biomedical research. However, we should have made these investments along with a full year bill that would have dealt with every government program.
“Finally this bill should not include the provision that would limit debate on providing a waiver to allow the next Secretary of Defense to have been retired from active duty for less than the current requirement of seven years. Civilian leadership of the military is a bedrock principle of our democracy, and any new standard deserves full debate by the Congress.
“I know Chairman Rogers worked to have the Appropriations Committee return to regular order. I have tried to be a partner with him because I think the American people want us to do our jobs of keeping the government operating.
“Notwithstanding the constraints facing the Chairman, the bill we consider today should be a bipartisan, full year spending measure.”