Lowey floor statement in opposition to FY 2019 Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Interior-Environment and Financial Services and General Government minibus that fails the American people by slashing environmental protection, rolling back consumer protections, and even cutting basic election security funding.
With bills this bad, it is no wonder Republicans have abandoned all pretense of regular order, grouped two unrelated appropriations bills together, and blocked numerous Democratic amendments. These bills are the product of Republicans’ misguided priorities. Instead of using the $18 billion increase in non-defense discretionary spending to create jobs and grow our economy, Republicans have chosen to waste those resources on an unnecessary border wall and cruel attacks on immigrant families.
We must do better. As much as it pains me to say it, we should be following the Senate and producing bipartisan bills instead of wasting time on playing political games and taking show votes to appease the right-wing of the Republican Conference.
Turning to the substance of the bills before us, it is absolutely outrageous that they would:
- Cut the Environmental Protection Agency by $100 million;
- Slash clean water infrastructure grants by $300 million;
- Sink $585 million into a black hole that is dressed up with a fancy name: the Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids, which is a ploy to not spend the entire Financial Services allocation;
- Reduce investments in underserved communities through the Community Development Financial Institutions program by $34 million; and
- Provide inadequate funding for small business loan programs and for investments that curb the opioid crisis.
However, the bill’s worst cut is the zeroing out of election security grants.
On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their interference in the 2016 presidential election. The indictment describes, in great deal, the efforts Russia took to break into state election databases.
We have all heard the public warnings of our Intelligence Community that Russia will attempt to attack our democracy again.
Yet instead of helping states protect and fortify their election infrastructure from cyber-hacking, this bill would eliminate election security grants entirely.
Additionally, numerous harmful policy riders strike at the heart of laws and rules that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, threaten the survival of endangered species, attack a woman’s right to choose, undermine democracy in the District of Columbia, and repeal important Dodd-Frank consumer protections.
These bills represent a divisive, partisan approach that threatens to leave American communities more polluted and American families more vulnerable to financial predators. We must do better.
I urge my colleagues to vote NO, and I reserve the balance of my time.