U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8), a member of the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, released the following statement regarding the continuing resolution for 2011 appropriations that passed the House with a vote of 260-167.
"The bill before us certainly isn't perfect. It contains cuts to many programs important to New Jersey families and several policy riders that I do not support. Cuts to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program will be hard to swallow, especially in these tough economic times. Reducing the Environmental Protection Agency's budget will make it harder to keep our air and water clean and protect us from the threat of climate change. And I am skeptical of reducing government spending in a way that could negatively impact our economic recovery.
"However, the deal does restore many of the Republican's most draconian cuts contained in H.R. 1. We were able to restore a billion dollars to CDBG, almost $250 million to WIC and $250 million to the COPS hiring program. The deal includes my amendment -- that was passed by a large bipartisan majority -- to restore funding for our firefighters to fiscal year 2010 levels. We have maintained the maximum Pell Grant award that makes higher education affordable and actually increased funding for early childhood education. The Securities and Exchange Commission will receive an increase in funding so it can more effectively police Wall Street and implement the reforms in the landmark financial regulation bill passed last year.
"My job as a Member of Congress is to find ways that we can come together to bridge our partisan differences for the good of the country. I believe that this bill meets that test. I will be voting in support of it so that we can avoid a government shutdown that could hurt our recovery far more than the cuts contained in this bill.
"Passage of this deal will allow us to turn our sights to the 2012 budget and have a broad discussion of our country's future. Make no mistake: the Republican budget is dead on arrival. A budget is a statement of priorities, and I will never vote for any budget that pays for tax cuts for the wealthiest by ending Medicare for our seniors. Yesterday, the President began what I hope will be an adult conversation about our future, and I intend to be a loud voice for protecting our seniors, veterans and the middle class."