Ranking Member DeLauro Floor Remarks on the Extreme Republican Continuing Resolution

2023-09-29 12:23

House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 5525, the extreme Republican C.R.:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise to oppose this continuing resolution. If you cannot agree to the funding levels for 2024, in order to keep government open, you must pass a continuing resolution. A 30 percent slashing of the federal government only “continues” the majority’s inability and unwillingness to govern responsibly. I would argue you cannot call it a “conservative” resolution either – there is nothing conservative about the indiscriminate destruction of public investments in America’s families.

But regardless of what it is called, this bill inflicts serious consequences on the American people – whether it is signed into law, which it never will be, or because of the costly shutdown it triggers.

We are less than 48 hours from a government shutdown, and what do we have to show for it? The American people are tired of the doublespeak coming from the majority. There are House Republicans who have repeatedly assured the public that nobody wants a shutdown – and there are others who tell us they think a shutdown would be a good thing for the country. And maybe they are not worried about a shutdown because they know Members of Congress will not miss a paycheck. I can speak for every Democrat in Congress when I say we oppose this Republican shutdown, a shutdown that will be devastating for our country.

So, what have Republicans offered as their effort to avoid a government shutdown? What would this bill do? This bill would slash investments in cancer research, leave communities recovering from natural disasters out to dry, undercut allies with a $1 billion cut to Israel and further cuts to our support of Ukraine, defund law enforcement and makes our communities less safe, and take food out of the mouths of millions. This bill raises costs on American families at a time when the cost of living is already too high.

It cuts Title I Education funding – the bedrock of American public education – to the effect of 150,000 teachers being pulled out of classrooms. And 275,000 children would lose access to Head Start, undermining early education and making it harder for parents to work.

In an unprecedented move, the House Republican bill cuts LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funding by roughly 74 percent. More than 5 million households would lose their home heating or cooling benefits or have their benefits cut by hundreds of dollars — threatening their ability to heat their homes in winter or cool their homes in summer.

House Republicans are threatening public health by cutting Food Safety and Inspection Service by 30 percent. Without adequate inspection staffing, plants will be required to close or reduce operating hours, hurting rural workers’ paychecks, reducing the meat and poultry supply, raising the cost of food on American families, and risking consumption of contaminated food.

With the cuts in this bill, 400,000 fewer small businesses would be assisted by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Entrepreneurial Development Programs. This would have a significant impact on small business owners, especially among Veterans, Women, and Native American entrepreneurs.

This bill has no future. At best, it is dead on arrival in the Senate, and would never be signed by the President. Everyone in this room knows that keeping the government operating and passing bills to fully fund the next fiscal year will require bipartisan cooperation, yet House Republicans are refusing to work with Democrats. This is a pointless charade with grave consequences for the American people.

House Democrats are ready to work. We were ready in the Spring. We were ready last week. We are ready this weekend. We are ready today, tomorrow, and every day, to work in good faith with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to meet the needs of the American people. Let’s get to work.

Thank you, I reserve the balance of my time.


118th Congress