AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004-CONFERENCE REPORT
Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the conference report to accompany the fiscal year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 2673. I would first like to thank the appropriators on both sides of the aisle, especially Chairman TED STEVENS and Ranking Member ROBERT BYRD, for their diligent efforts in crafting this daunting funding package, and particularly for their agreement on several provisions significant to the people of Georgia that will meet urgent needs in transportation, education, agriculture, and homeland security.
This body has an obligation to the American people to ensure the continuing operations of our government by annually appropriating needed funding. We also have the obligation to spend consistently within the budget restraints created by the budget resolution-the general agreement between Congress and the executive branch in terms of spending limits which this body adopted last April for fiscal year 2004. We have met this obligation since this bill adheres to that agreement.
The spending package before us funds a majority of the agencies and programs of the U.S. Government. Passing this omnibus appropriations bill toady will allow us to increase our efforts in fighting terrorism; it will strengthen our state and local first responders with increased funding; it will provide additional medical care and other benefits to millions of veterans and address the needs of our Nation's schools and universities.
For example, the omnibus bill includes $260 million for the Centers for Disease Control located in Atlanta for desperately needed building improvements. The CDC is home to some of the brightest and best scientists in the world and this money will contribute to the renovation of many dilapidated buildings in desperate need of repairs and modernization. this bill is also a very important to the State of Georgia. There are vital programs across the State that will receive necessary funding once this bill is passed and signed into law by the President.
I support the passage of this conference report to the fiscal year 2004 Omnibus Bill. Although an unforeseen medical emergency will not allow me to actually cast my vote today for cloture or passage of this conference report, I encourage my colleagues to support the passage of these measures