Lowey floor statement on disaster relief, debt limit increase, and Continuing Resolution
I rise in support of providing critical emergency relief to respond to the catastrophic damages wreaked by Hurricane Harvey, and the expectation of damages from Hurricane Irma. My thoughts and prayers remain with all those whose families, lives, homes, and businesses have been upended by these disasters. This Congress and the American people are with you in your time of need.
I am pleased this package provides a temporary suspension of the federal debt limit to prevent a catastrophic debt default. Congress and the Administration must never allow the threat of default to raise questions about the faith and credit of the United States of America.
And while Congress should never be content to govern by Continuing Resolution, extending federal funding through December 8th gives Congress the time to do what we should have done months ago - engage in a bipartisan, bicameral process to develop a new budget agreement with realistic caps on defense and nondefense spending.
My friends, we have been here before. In 2013 and 2015, faced with government funding deadlines and impending sequestration, Congress passed short-term Continuing Resolutions in order to engage in bipartisan negotiations to lift the threat of sequestration. Enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2013 and 2015 provided sequester relief and made it possible for Congress and President Obama to enact responsible bipartisan full-year Appropriations bills.
Now in 2017, finding ourselves in the same position, we should follow the same course. Congress should quickly pass this agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic Congressional leaders, extending federal funding through December 8th. Given the urgency of the disaster assistance to respond to Hurricane Harvey and Irma, any delay is unacceptable.
Congressional leadership must also immediately begin bipartisan negotiations to develop a new budget agreement with realistic caps on defense and non-defense discretionary spending. This will make it possible to negotiate and enact bipartisan full-year Appropriations that invest in working families, improve communities, and increase our security at home and abroad.