Chairwoman Lowey Statement to Rules Committee on Four-Bill Appropriations Minibus

2020-07-22 14:00

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider, H.R. 7608, a minibus of four fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills:

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Cole, and Members of the Rules Committee:

I appreciate the opportunity to present H.R. 7608, the first legislative package of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills.

The package is the product of months of thoughtful deliberation and input from Members on both sides of the aisle. I am proud of the work we have completed under the incredibly difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This appropriations package addresses urgent national priorities. I am particularly pleased that we have:

  • Provided strong funding and protections to help put nutritious food on people’s tables during this time of economic crisis and rising food insecurity;
  • Increased investments in broadband to connect more Americans to work, school, health care, and family;
  • Included robust funding to protect the environment and build resilience to climate change; 
  • Appropriated $12.5 billion in emergency funding to address sharply rising veterans’ health care costs.

I am also proud that the package includes strong emergency appropriations to confront coronavirus and support economic recovery, with investments in critical infrastructure and coronavirus preparedness, response, and relief domestically and globally.

These are just a few highlights of our bills. Our Cardinals will provide more examples of investments that will expand opportunities for every person in every corner of the nation.

Turning to the State-Foreign Operations division: With a total of $65.87 billion, the bill rejects the President’s “go-it-alone” approach to foreign policy.

To confront today’s global challenges – from poverty to civil war, climate change to violent extremism – our bill provides strong investments in security and humanitarian assistance, multilateral assistance initiatives like food security, and global health programs tackling HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.

Meeting the challenge of the coronavirus, the bill provides $10 billion in emergency funding to support a coordinated global response to this scourge.

And to ensure COVID-19 does not derail decades of development gains, the bill provides $3.8 billion in base funding for development assistance, including basic education.

The bill also restores funding for the World Health Organization to ensure the United States maintains influence in the operations of an organization critical to the development and distribution of vaccines. 

For the health and safety of women, the bill reverses the President’s Global Gag Rule and stops counterproductive restrictions on family planning and health funding while including robust funding to ensure that millions of women can access critically needed health care.

The bill bolsters international security and increases funding for many of our critical partners. I am particularly proud that, as a bipartisan priority, the bill includes $50 million to fund a new partnership for peace in the Middle East that would strengthen economic development and engagement between Palestinians and Israelis through people-to-people programs and economic ventures.

Additionally, the bill prioritizes the security of diplomatic and development staff, their families, and the facilities where they work, with $6. 1 billion for embassy security, which is $692.2 million above the President’s request.

Critically, to address Trump administration policies that harm our neighbors beyond our Southern border and drive migration, the bill amends prior-year appropriations Acts to significantly limit the President’s ability to redirect assistance outside of the region.

Mr. Chairman, the Appropriations Committee is charged with one of the most important responsibilities entrusted to Congress by the Constitution: the power of the purse.

I am proud that we have used that power to make investments that will make the world better, safer, and healthier and give every person a better chance at a better life.

I request an appropriate rule for Floor consideration of H.R. 7608.


116th Congress