Quigley statement at full committee markup of FY 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill
Thank you Mr. Chairman, As I did during the subcommittee markup, I would again like to start by thanking staff on both sides for all of the long hours that went into drafting this bill, as well as preparing us for this markup. In particular, I would like to recognize and thank committee staff on the minority side for their hard word: Lisa, Chris, Martha, and Angela, as well as Doug from my personal office. I know all the Members on my side share the same sentiment.
And I would also like to thank Chairman Graves for his efforts to try and make this process as fair and inclusive as possible. While we may disagree on many of the priorities in this bill, Chairman Graves has always led this committee in a respectful and civil way, without allowing our differences to limit our ability to work together.
With that said, I must unfortunately oppose the bill before us today. Given its flat allocation of $23.4 billion, this bill does not adequately meet the growing needs of our small businesses, taxpayers, or middle-class consumers and investors.
However, to be fair, I do want to acknowledge how pleased I was to see increased funding for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Federal Defender Services, and the Small Business Administration—three very different priorities, yet each critical in their own right.
But this doesn’t negate cuts suffered by some of our most important agencies tasked with missions ranging from policing Wall Street to supporting investment in our most underserved communities.
After losing over a billion dollars in funding and 18,000 staff between 2010 and 2017, my friends in the Majority have reversed course and have begun providing IRS with additional funding to implement their new tax law. Yet taxpayer service is cut by $15 million.
GSA’s funding for new construction is cut by over $400 million and funds for both major and basic repairs and alterations, comes in at $194 million below the requested amount.
The SEC, which is tasked with protecting investors and ensuring fairness in our capital markets, is cut by over $200 million, even though the commission’s budget is financed by industry fees, not taxpayer funds.
The CDFI fund, after receiving increased funding of $250 million in FY18, is inexplicably cut by $59 million in this bill. This means fewer resources to spur economic growth and revitalization in our most underserved and neglected communities. Cutting an overwhelmingly bipartisan program by over 20 percent will lead to a loss of almost $700 million, after factoring in losses in private investment. That means less affordable housing, small businesses, and community infrastructure.
And after providing States with $380 million in new grants to help fortify and protect election systems from cyber-hacking, this bill provides zero funding for FY19. As I pointed out in the subcommittee markup, while the $380 million that’s been allocated is a step in the right direction, it is only a down payment. For a majority of the 13 states that still use voting machines with no paper trail, at most, the funds they received are only enough to cover half of their replacement costs. We must do more to protect our democratic process from those who wish us harm—not just for the upcoming midterms, but for 2020 and beyond.
In addition to these cuts, this bill contains a long list of partisan policy riders both new and old.
- It would block the IRS from enforcing the Johnson Amendment, which was enacted to prohibit tax exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
- It would restrict the SEC from requiring companies to disclose political contributions.
- And it would interfere in the local affairs of DC, including the repeal of a locally passed law allowing the District to use its own local funds without the approval of Congress,
- Prohibiting funds for DC needle exchange programs, including funds for supervised use at medically assisted addiction clinics,
- blocking local legalization of marijuana,
- banning DC’s Death with Dignity Act,
- And restricting not just federal, but local funds from being used to carry out legal and safe abortion services.
It is hard enough to pass appropriations bills without these divisive, controversial riders; especially since many of these have been litigated in this committee year after year and fail to make it into the final funding bill.
I continue to stand ready to work with my colleagues on the majority side to strengthen this bill and remove unproductive riders, but, unfortunately, I cannot support this bill as written.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.