Lowey statement on FY2016 Continuing Resolution
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, today delivered the following statement on the FY2016 Continuing Resolution:
Mr. Speaker, we may temporarily avert this most recent crisis if we can get this bill to the President tonight - just hours before the entire federal government shuts down - but it is certainly not a cause for celebration. This very short-term continuing resolution avoids the most immediate crisis, but what is “step two”? After we enact this stop-gap measure, are there any firm plans to begin negotiating the full-year appropriations bills we should be passing today? I remain deeply concerned about the potential of finding ourselves facing a government shutdown again in December.
The stakes are very high. We have an economy that is genuinely recovering – unemployment is down, economic growth is up – but we still have progress to make. The uncertainty and unnecessary tumult of playing games right up to the brink of a government shutdown is not helpful to our fragile economic recovery. The last shutdown cost the economy $24 billion in GDP, according to Standard and Poor’s.
This continuing resolution “buys” us ten weeks and takes care of only a handful of the most pressing federal responsibilities:
- Provides desperately needed emergency fire-fighting funds to address the cataclysmic fires raging in the west;
- Provides additional resources for processing disability claims at the Veterans’ Administration;
- Increases the authorization in the Small Business Loan Guarantee program to ensure new loans can be administered to help small businesses across the country; and
- Extends several expiring authorizations for programs within the Department of Homeland Security.
- Notably, the continuing resolution does not address other key priorities that could bolster our economy, such as the expired authority of the Export-Import Bank, which has created or sustained 1.5 million private sector jobs at no cost to the taxpayer since 2007 and supported billions in American economic activity.
By settling on this short-term extension we fail to provide proposed increases for medical research at the National Institute of Health and the nation’s aging transportation system and infrastructure. The President’s request for defense funding is short-changed, which would put our national security at risk in a long-term CR. Leaving our federal agencies on auto-pilot, without the line-by-line, year-by-year adjustments that should come from this Committee and this Congress, is irresponsible and hurts our ability to grow our economy, create jobs, and give hardworking families to services they need. Yet, with the Republican dysfunction that has driven a change in the Majority’s leadership on the brink of a government shutdown, the prospects for forging a reasonable, responsible solution by December are not good.
One more indication of the dire outlook is the cynical gimmick – an “enrollment correction” – the Majority has put forward today to supposedly defund Planned Parenthood. Fortunately it will have no practical effect on the CR for two reasons: first, the Senate will certainly ignore it, and second, there is no need for a correction since as my friend, Mr. Cole noted this weekend, “there is no money” in the CR for Planned Parenthood. PolitiFact even confirmed his claim.
I will strongly oppose this attack on women’s health today as I support the temporary continuing resolution and urge all of my colleagues to do the same so we can at least avoid a worst-case scenario. But I again implore outgoing and incoming Republican leadership to please engage with the President and House Democrats immediately on an agreement to replace the sequester-level caps, avert the next crisis just weeks away, stop playing political games with women’s health, and invest in American economic growth and security.
I reserve the balance of my time.