As the Republican Leader of the Appropriations Committee, I oppose H.R. 7617, the second package of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills to be considered by the House.
My concerns today will sound very familiar. I had many of the same objections when I spoke on the House floor last week about the first package of appropriations bills.
I regret that I again oppose a very important piece of legislation.
This bill supports –
- The servicemembers who risk it all for our freedoms;
- The law enforcement officers that keep us safe;
- The small business owners who want to achieve the American dream;
- The researchers seeking ground-breaking cures for diseases;
- The ports and waterways that are so critical for commerce; and
- Our transit systems that millions of Americans rely on every day.
Unfortunately, like the bill we considered last week, H.R. 7617 has some fatal flaws that make it unacceptable.
First, many of the policy provisions are similar to the partisan legislation the majority has pushed through the House the last few months; and
Second, the spending levels exceed the amounts the Congress and the President agreed to just last year.
Instead of policy and funding proposals being developed from the bottom-up within the Appropriations Committee, many of these decisions appear to have been dictated from the top-down.
This is disappointing because the Committee has held more than 100 hearings and briefings in the last six months – even in the middle of a global pandemic.
For example, the bill jeopardizes our safety and security by:
Repealing both the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, which would limit our ability to conduct counter-terrorism operations worldwide;
Allowing terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay to be brought to U.S. soil; and
Preventing the united states from exercising the right to defend ourselves and our allies, such as Israel.
Our path toward renewed American prominence in space is undermined, giving China the opportunity to dominate the next frontier.
The bill gives in to the voices calling for defunding the police by failing to provide adequate funding for our Federal law enforcement agencies.
In addition, state and local law enforcement agencies are prohibited from receiving excess equipment from the Department of Defense.
Officers should have what they need to protect and serve our communities. Provisions in this bill will halt critical funds used for training and equipment, including active shooter training, body cameras, and bullet-proof vests.
The bill also:
- Blocks the Administration’s rule protecting health care providers from performing actions that violate their religious beliefs;
- Forces faith-based providers to discuss abortion, even if they have a personal objection; and
- Perhaps worst of all, makes changes to family planning grants which will require funds to go to Planned Parenthood clinics.
I am also disappointed to see that several long-standing, bipartisan Second Amendment protections were eliminated.
The bill also contains billions of dollars in emergency spending on top of the caps that were agreed to last year.
$186 billion dollars is included in this bill for infrastructure without any bipartisan discussions or agreement.
Another $24 billion dollars is included to address coronavirus, even though a three trillion-dollar bill passed the House in May and the Senate is moving quickly on its response.
We must work together on appropriations bills that avoid controversial legislative language and meet agreed-upon spending levels.
This is the only way to get bills through the House and the Senate and signed into law.
For these reasons, I oppose this package.
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