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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This 6-month continuing resolution, Mr. Speaker, will keep the government's doors open and its wheels turning until March 27, 2013. It's a necessary bill that ensures that the Congress is doing its job, even if this is not our preferred way of going about doing it.

Funding for the government in short increments is not the right way to govern and not something that should be common practice.

It's essential to our Nation's financial future that the Congress complete these important appropriations bills in regular order.

However, the Senate failed to act on any of the 12 appropriations bills this year, instead choosing to default on their most basic fiscal duty in the name of election-year politics.

Over the past few months, the House did its very best to support the core functions of the government and provide responsible levels for critical programs and services. In fact, the Appropriations Committee considered all 12 bills, fulfilling our duty as shepherds of Federal tax dollars and our responsibility as representatives of the people in this country.

I'm deeply disappointed that this work is now on hold and that Congress will not complete this work before the end of the fiscal year this September 30.

Though we have found ourselves in this undesirable position, it does not mean we can't yet act responsibly.

This CR is a good-faith effort to provide limited, but fair, funding for government programs. It sticks with the agreement the House leadership made with the Senate and the White House to continue government operations at the Budget Control Act-approved level of $1.047 trillion, thereby avoiding the perils of a threatened government shutdown.

This legislation is very limited in scope. Funding levels have been held at rates essentially consistent with the current fiscal year. It makes minor changes to prevent detrimental or catastrophic or irreversible changes to Federal programs and to ensure good government.

This includes provisions to allow additional funding for things like nuclear weapons modernization efforts, wildfire suppression, maintaining current border security staffing levels, more help to process veterans' disability claims, and things of that sort. Essential.

We've also made sure that we will take care of these individuals, businesses, and communities affected by the recent natural disasters like Hurricane Isaac. We provide $6.4 billion in additional disaster funding. This funding will prevent any lapse in critical assistance to those already working to recover from these catastrophes, as well as adequate financial resources, should any need arise in the future.

The bill also protects critical funding for our national defense, maintaining last year's levels for Department of Defense programs which the Senate and the White House have sought to significantly cut.

Mr. Speaker, my committee will stand ready and will stand at the ready to continue the appropriations process. We intend to use the lame-duck session to the fullest extent. Just because this CR will last until March 27 of next year, we will not rest on our laurels until that time. We will do as much as we can to allow ample time to complete that essential work.

Mr. Speaker, we have to pass this important bill to maintain the continuity of our government and to prevent its shutdown and to continue the vital programs and services for our people, for our Nation, and for the stability of our economy.

I ask for support, Mr. Speaker, of this critical legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman I will introduce next has served on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for over 30 years, as has the previous speaker, Mr. Dicks, served over 30 years as well. These two gentlemen, the previous speaker and the upcoming speaker, are the House's experts, in my judgment, on military matters. So I yield such time as he may consume to the former chairman of the full committee, and also now the chairman of the Defense Subcommittee, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young).

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to engage with the ranking member and clarify some apparent confusion on this CR's provision regarding cybersecurity, if the gentleman would engage.

The language in section 137 of the CR, regarding cybersecurity, is explicit and clear. The phrase that's apparently in question refers solely to the Federal Network Security program. The Federal Network Security is a limited program that provides security systems on government networks, not private. So no funds are for any new executive order. No funds or language expands any DHS authorities, and none of the funds or language in this section has anything to do with the regulation of private sector infrastructure, and we have confirmed that in writing with the Department of Homeland Security.

Without this anomaly, the program will be suspended due to the lack of available funding, and the monitoring of Federal civilian networks will be further delayed, leaving them vulnerable to infiltration and subsequent breach. That's all we are trying to prevent with this provision.

Let me also add that this provision is an abbreviated version of what is contained in both the House-passed and Senate-reported fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills--something our committees have been working on all year.

With all of that said, I now yield to the committee's distinguished ranking member, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), who I believe agrees with this clarification.

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Before I yield back, Mr. Speaker, let me take a moment to talk about the ranking member.

Mr. Dicks, as I said before, has served on this committee for 30-plus years. I'm not exactly sure how many. How many is it? It is 36 years. He has been a very, very dedicated member of the committee, including--and most especially--of the Defense Subcommittee on which he has served for, I think, 34 years. Before that, he was an aide to a Member of Congress, so he has wide, deep experience in this body.

Maybe just as importantly, perhaps even more so, is the dedication that he has given to the country through his service in the Congress. I, personally, have found him to be a close friend. He has also been a great partner in this appropriations process since I have become the chairman of the committee. He has been helpful in a thousand instances. His heart is in the right place. His mind is on the business of serving the public, especially the military part of that service.

We're going to miss Norm Dicks around here. He is going to leave a large hole in our hearts but also in the business of this body and this Congress, so we wish him well as he embarks upon a new career, perhaps, and a new way of life, perhaps. I've got an idea there are going to be a few fish involved in that future, but we are going to miss Norm Dicks for all that he has meant to us.

This may be the last bill that he has a part in. I hope, perhaps, there will be something in the lame duck; but in case there is not, I wanted to be sure that we said some words of deep, profound thanks to a patriot who has served his country as few others have. I wish Norm Dicks the very, very best as he embarks on the next phase of his life.

I will be happy to yield to the gentleman.

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to mention staff. As the ranking member has said, none of this would be here but for this wonderful staff that we are blessed with.

Bill Inglee on the majority side, the clerk; Will Smith, his deputy; and all of the staff on the subcommittees and the full committee have worked day and night--weekends included--on this bill. For that we are deeply appreciative. Then David Pomerantz on the minority side and all of the staff on the minority side, both full committee and subcommittees, have equally worked as hard and, most of the time, together on the same thing. So we want to thank them for the deep service that they've given to us.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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