Lowey floor statement in opposition to Trump-GOP rescissions bill
Mr. Speaker, it is outrageous that we are beginning this appropriations season by debating President Trump’s rescissions bill, which fails the American people, hurts children and families, and injects needless partisanship into Congress’ important appropriations work.
First and foremost, this bill fails the American people by eliminating funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Just months after exploding annual deficits to the tune of $1.5 trillion and lavishing massive tax breaks to big corporations with their tax scam, Republicans are now proposing to make children and families pay with a $7 billion cut from CHIP. Targeting CHIP for a rescission prevents Congress from reinvesting in other priorities like child and maternal health, early childhood education, biomedical research, and our community health centers.
Additionally, the nearly $15 billion in rescissions cut numerous efforts to create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our communities. It cuts funding for the Economic Development Administration and for Community Development Financial Institutions, both of which create jobs in rural areas and distressed communities. Treasury was prepared to announce 114 awards from CDFI’s Bank Enterprise Award program – this isn’t merely “spring cleaning” by sweeping up old funding that would never be spent, it is taking investments away from local communities.
It slashes billions of dollars from federal loan programs that foster innovation and create clean-energy jobs. Eight projects are in the pipeline through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, two of which would create 2,400 manufacturing jobs and an $890 million investment in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The Republican raw deal would rescind those funds and prevent economic growth.
I am also profoundly disappointed that Republicans are willing to bring forward legislation that undermines two years of bipartisan spending agreements. This bill includes cuts to funding that was appropriated under the fiscal year 2017 omnibus, which was negotiated just over a year ago. And it reneges on the Bipartisan Budget Agreement from February by further restricting CHIP amounts that could be reinvested in future years. Upending bipartisan agreements poisons the well and makes future negotiations more difficult.
Finally, I must express my strong objections to the rushed process by which Republicans have considered this rescissions bill. The White House submitted its final version of the rescissions proposal less than 48 hours ago. We have had no hearings or markups, or even any debate at all, on this bill in the Appropriations Committee. And we are considering it with no opportunity to debate the merits of each of these rescissions on their own. This is not regular order and it is no way to make such a consequential decision.
Instead of rubber-stamping President Trump’s rescissions package, Congress should conduct rigorous oversight to determine why the Trump administration has not spent these funds even as they misspend tax dollars on first class flights, fountain pens, and luxury dining sets.
Spending cuts that hurt American families should be carefully considered, not rushed through to score political points or help the Majority’s whip count on other bills. I urge you to vote no, and I yield back the balance of my time.