Thank you, Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole, for allowing me to testify on H.R. 4502, a package of seven fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills.
I wish the circumstances were different and I were here speaking in favor of this important piece of legislation.
Unfortunately, there is not bipartisan support, so I am here to ask the Rules Committee to allow amendments to H.R. 4502, so that it can be improved.
I want to begin by acknowledging the tireless efforts of our full committee chair, Ms. DeLauro, and the subcommittee chairs and ranking members who will be testifying today.
In addition to having a rigorous hearing schedule, in just ten days we held twenty-four markups. It is quite an accomplishment to be sitting before you with all of our bills reported out of committee.
But, it is disappointing that our work product does not reflect the extraordinary level of effort of Members on both sides of the aisle.
To put it simply, after months of committee activity, the bills have too many fatal flaws.
The problems started at the very beginning. There was no Republican buy-in on the 1.5 trillion dollar spending level requested by the Administration that was then pushed through on a party-line vote.
Republicans on our committee also unanimously opposed the funding allocations for the individual bills. The non-defense spending proposed is too high, and the defense spending is too low.
Last, but certainly not least, these bills represent the most sweeping policy changes I have ever seen.
In addition to allowing the House to consider amendments to bring spending in line with what is needed during this time of record deficits and debt, I urge the Rules Committee to allow amendments that address important policy issues.
My request on policy issues is in two parts. The first part is very simple – I ask that the Rules Committee allow bills to be amended to reflect the status quo in critical policy areas.
It should be no surprise that Members on my side of the aisle are most concerned about the reversal of policies that have been in place for years to protect life.
I remain adamant that the Hyde Amendment and other long-standing bipartisan provisions like it must be incorporated into all of the appropriations bills this year.
In addition, there are numerous other long-standing policy provisions that were stripped from these bills that should be restored.
The second part of my request is just as straightforward. The new, controversial changes that were added this year should be allowed to be amended on the floor, and Members on our side should be able to offer competing ideas.
Mr. Chairman, I know you have an enormous challenge. The power and responsibility rest with the Rules Committee to decide which of the hundreds of amendments submitted will be made in order and debated on the floor of the House.
I hope the members of this committee will take to heart the requests made by Members on our side of the aisle and work together with us to improve this product.
Protecting the ability of the House to debate important legislative provisions would be a positive step forward in developing appropriations bills that can be signed into law.
In closing, I want to remind everyone that we have some significant decisions to make in a short amount of time.
With the House only planning to be in session and voting for 13 more legislative days before this fiscal year ends, we will soon be faced with the painful reality of a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.
With that in mind, I am going to close my comments and yield back so we can get to work.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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