Madam Chair, thank you for yielding.
I rise in opposition to the subcommittee allocations because they do not give a complete picture of all of the spending in these appropriations bills.
Instead of working with us to develop bills consistent with the budget agreement that was reached last year, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have unilaterally decided to include hundreds of billions of dollars in so-called “emergency” spending for things that really are not emergencies.
- Almost $200 billion dollars for infrastructure;
- Nearly $35 billion dollars to respond to the coronavirus on top of the trillions already appropriated; and
- $12.5 billion for veterans, even though it was known last year that these costs would rise.
In total, there is more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in additional deficit spending not included in these allocations.
Designating spending as an “emergency” is nothing more than a budgeting device used to free up funds to be spent on lower priority programs.
For example, we should not be contributing to the green climate fund or burdening critical sectors of our economy with more expensive and cumbersome regulations.
Our spending is a growing threat to our economic security, and I am concerned about the path we are on.
The Congressional Budget Office now estimates the budget deficit will top $3.7 trillion dollars this fiscal year – almost quadruple previous estimates. These are the highest levels in American history.
Being fiscally responsible requires reviewing what is really needed and making difficult choices.
If we fail to make tough choices, we are worsening our budget outlook and our ability to respond to the next crisis.
We would also be jeopardizing future economic stability for our children and our grandchildren. The American people demand more of us.
The additional deficit spending forced into these appropriations bills is short-sighted because there was no attempt to get consensus with Republicans in the House, the Senate, or the White House.
Instead, it appears that these bills have been directed from the top-down, rather than the bottom-up, as our Committee typically operates.
These bills are full of controversial policies and questionable spending priorities, similar to the extremely partisan bills that leaders of the Majority party have put on the House floor this year.
In closing, I am disappointed in our failure to come together at a time when the nation needs that about as much as anything we could give them.
We face a crisis unlike anything that we have ever faced, and it saddens me that we are in this place. This is a loss for all of us.
The work of this Committee is too important to let politics bog us down. I hope we can find common ground during the markups over the next week and in the months ahead.
I urge a no vote and yield back my time.
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