DeLauro to Rules Committee: “We should promote stability, not chaos.”

2023-11-13 16:07

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) delivered the following remarks at the House Rules Committee in opposition to H.R. 5894, the 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill, and on Republicans’  Continuing Resolution:

On the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill:

"This bill is the largest domestic appropriation bill, and for good reason. The programs funded in Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education ensure our workforce is strong, our families are healthy and safe, and our children’s future is secure. Indeed, last Congress, we passed a Labor-HHS bill that supported middle class and working families, lifted up vulnerable Americans, and prepared our nation for future crises.

"Which makes it even more disappointing to see where we have ended up in this year’s process. The majority’s 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill – and its 28 percent cut of $64 billion, brings us back to a level unseen since 2008. It heralds their intent to end public education in the United States. This bill eliminates present and future job opportunities for young adults, for seniors, and for working families. And it jeopardizes maternal, pediatric, and public health.

"This bill is shameful – which is presumably the reason why it was never marked up or voted on by the full Appropriations Committee. As disappointed as I am to see the authority of the Appropriations Committee surrendered, sadly, based on where the majority has taken this entire process, it is not surprising.

"153 days ago, the House Appropriations Committee held its first full committee markup of a fiscal year 2024 bill. Nine more followed. This bill was not one of them. Nonetheless, the House majority circumvented the committee process by air-dropping five new poison pill riders into the Labor-HHS bill – without any bipartisan consultation or a vote by the committee. We are left to assume that the majority knew this bill had no path forward in committee – and they know it has no path forward, period.

"Horace Mann called Education 'the great equalizer.' Perhaps then it is the majority’s aversion to equality that explains why they cut 28 percent from the Department of Education – taking at least 224,000 teachers out of low-income classrooms and eviscerating the programs that help at‑risk youth build a bright future.

"This cut would entail a loss of 3,700 teachers in Alabama; 800 teachers in Idaho; 4,400 teachers in Maryland; 4,300 teachers in Tennessee; 6,500 teachers in Michigan; 5,000 teachers in Louisiana; 8,300 teachers in Georgia; 1,500 teachers in Kansas; 22,300 teachers in Texas; and 4,400 teachers in Arizona. I am deeply concerned about the impact such a colossal retraction from public education funding would have on children across the country.

"This bill tells the story of where the majority seeks to take this country. Republicans have made it clear they are opposed to public education and they seek to destroy it. Quality education will no longer be accessible to working families – but the purview of the rich. I must underscore that point – this is no messaging bill. This is their 'Commitment with America.' I am taking Republicans at their word, as should all of the American people – this is what they want to do.

"When 161 House Republicans voted earlier this year to eliminate all K-12 funding at the Department of Education in the Massie Amendment to H.R. 5, I was horrified, but that was only the beginning.

"House Republicans are in lockstep behind the most extreme ideologues in their party: just this summer, former Secretary Betsy DeVos penned an op-ed calling to eliminate the Department of Education; the Heritage Foundation’s Budget Blueprint includes a proposal to eliminate the Department of Education; and former OMB Director Russ Vought wants massive funding reductions to 'thwart' a public education system he sees as an 'existential threat to the American Republic.'

"We are witnessing a widespread attack on public education that should shock every American family. If left to their own devices, Republicans would gleefully take public education to the graveyard.

"So, how will this bill move us closer towards those ends?

"English language acquisition funding to help 5 million English learners nationwide is eliminated, disadvantaging and discriminating against students who primarily speak another language, and restraining their future ability to compete and succeed in the economy.

"Supporting Effective Instruction State grants – which provide professional development opportunities for educators – are completely gone.

"Federal Work Study is no more for the 660,000 students who need it to help finance their post-secondary education – limiting their potential earnings and future success in the job market.

"Nearly $1 billion cut from Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants would eliminate need-based financial aid for 1.7 million students nationwide.

"Promise Neighborhoods, Social and Emotional Learning grants, Magnet schools are all completely erased as well.

"And the programs that are not completely abolished in this bill are funded so poorly as to be completely nonfunctional. A $14.7 billion cut from Title I – the very foundation of public education in America – is patently unthinkable and would remove hundreds of thousands of teachers from classrooms, directly harming children in every single one of our districts.

"Students nationwide are struggling with rising college costs, and this bill provides no relief by freezing the maximum Pell Grant for the first time in twelve years. Furthermore, a House Republican has submitted an amendment to this committee that would cut funding for Pell Grants by nearly $10 billion. If this committee makes that amendment in order – and House Republicans vote to eviscerate the Pell Grant program – it would go even further to destroy educational opportunities in America.

"I believe we all agree we have a crisis in our nation’s classrooms. But rather than address the teacher shortage and fully fund our children’s future – our nation’s future – the majority’s solution is to abolish the public classroom altogether. If you cannot afford a private education for your children – too bad. This is the Every Child Left Behind Act.

"Regardless of your age or stage in life, this bill means you cannot count on your country for assistance getting back on your feet. Youth Job Training, Adult Job Training, Job Corps, Senior Community Service Employment Programs are all eliminated. If you want to work and just need help finding the right job or finding a better job, this bill has nothing to offer you. They are putting workers who do find jobs at risk by cutting $313 million from worker protection agencies, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. And a 30 percent cut to the Wage and Hour Division, the agency tasked with enforcing wage law and ensuring there are not children working illegally, will send the rights of workers in this country back to the time before World War II.

"The bill hangs working families completely out to dry. Healthy Start, diaper distribution, teen pregnancy prevention, Title X family planning – all abolished. And with riders that block access to abortions and reproductive health care services and force providers to withhold critical information about healthcare options, it is clear that the majority does not trust women to make their own decisions and want to move us to a nationwide abortion ban. These provisions amount to the majority simultaneously ensuring that anyone who may get pregnant, will get pregnant, teenagers included – and that there are no resources or lifelines available to help those children and families.

"People can only hope they do not get cancer – you will not find support from House Republicans. From the National Institutes of Health, over $2 billion dollars is cut from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute for Mental Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are as outrageous as they are dangerous. Firearm Injury Prevention, Tobacco Prevention, and Ending the HIV Epidemic – which, by the way, was an initiative of President Donald Trump – Republicans have decided addressing these problems is not worth a single dollar to the American people.

"What should we be doing if not combatting the leading causes of death in this country? What should we fund if not the health and future of America’s families?

"Supporting our children and working families is the bare minimum of what the 'greatest country in the world' should do for its people. But this bill goes below the bare minimum.

"This bill steals from our children’s future, from our families’ health, and from Americans’ livelihoods. It abandons young adults, stifles biomedical innovation, surrenders to current and future public health crises, and hurts women with poison pill riders on abortion. For these reasons, I vehemently oppose this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do the same."


On Republicans' 'laddered' continuing resolution:

"We are here considering what, if signed into law, would be the second Continuing Resolution. This is the fourth proposed Continuing Resolution – the first two attempts at a partisan measure failed to garner a majority’s support in the House. The third attempt, which could only pass with Democratic support, resulted in the removal of the Speaker of the House. In fact, House Republicans squandered most of the time covered by that bill to find a new Speaker.

"We have been under a Continuing Resolution for 44 days, and Republicans have not spent a single minute of that time at the table with Democrats working in good faith on full year appropriations bills. This is a never-ending saga.

"For what reason should we believe Republicans will change their tactics after this bill goes into effect? Unless we are to embrace sequestration – which I know some members of this committee are enthusiastic about – House Republicans must begin negotiating a true topline right now.

"153 days ago, the House Appropriations Committee held its first full committee markup of a 2024 bill. Nine more followed. We still await the fate of two bills – Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Commerce, Justice, Science, that never saw the full committee – but the majority plans to consider those bills on the House floor despite never considering or voting on them in committee. Never marked up. This is out of regular order.

"153 days of House Republicans attempting – often failing – to pass partisan bills without even a whisper that they are ready to sit down with Democrats to negotiate bills that can be signed into law.

"In trying to rally support for this bill, Speaker Johnson reportedly told members of the majority that this crisis is not of his making. If that is true, and if he wants to fix the process, we should be considering a bill to minimize the chance of a future shutdown, and not a bill that doubles those odds.

"Ultimately, we are here because House Republicans broke the June budget agreement deal they overwhelmingly supported and that was signed into law by the President, which established a topline to be translated into allocations for each subcommittee – and Republicans continue to push appropriations bills that do not adhere to the law of the land that they agreed to.

"House Republicans wasted time debating two bills that were so appalling that they had to remove them from the floor to avoid failing on final passage. House Republicans cannot enact their extreme agenda.

"Their ill-conceived 'laddered' Continuing Resolution creates multiple future points of failure and doubles the likelihood of future shutdowns. In a time of global crisis, we should promote stability, not chaos.

"Critically, this bill does nothing to help our allies. It does not include any emergency assistance for Israel, for Ukraine, our Indo-Pacific partners, for humanitarian aid, or for disaster victims here at home. At a time when the Departments of State and Defense need to quickly respond to global crises, House Republicans would put them under a Continuing Resolution for nearly two months.

"It is irresponsible to kick the can down the road for several months – keeping government services frozen – and hope that our challenges go away. We are nowhere closer to a full-year funding agreement than we were at the end of September. Congress must avoid a shutdown and pass a continuing resolution that facilitates enacting full-year spending bills and emergency assistance as soon as possible.

"Thank you, and I yield back."


118th Congress