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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SERRANO. Mr. Chair, as the Ranking Member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, I am voting ``no'' on the Continuing Resolution sent back to us by the Senate. This bill underfunds several important programs and initiatives, and does not provide adequate funding to continue the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank. Moreover, this bill compounds that harm by allowing the sequester to continue.

I am particularly disturbed by serious problems in the Financial Services and General Government section of the bill.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is flat funded at fiscal year 2012 levels, before taking into account the effects of sequestration. This funding level will greatly harm the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is a critical year for the ACA as the state exchanges prepare to go live, and as part of that effort, the IRS had asked for an additional $254 million in funding to help administer several upcoming ACA tax credits and tax changes. Failing to provide this funding will hamper IRS efforts to continue the implementation of these important efforts--which will help individuals and small businesses--and will create more confusion by not providing the IRS with the resources to answer taxpayers' questions.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is flat-funded at fiscal year 2012 levels despite a requested $94 million increase. This funding level, further reduced by sequestration, will hinder the SEC in the continued implementation of Dodd-Frank, and will harm its enforcement duties. The SEC still needs to implement several of the most important Dodd-Frank rules and reforms, and this funding level will only slow that effort. This bill prevents the SEC from being the strong ``cop on the beat'' that we need to ensure that the abuses that helped cause the fiscal meltdown don't recur.

Moreover, our Federal Public Defenders, who are part of the Federal Judiciary budget, actually receive a small increase of $9 million above the fiscal year 2012 level. However, this amount is less than they requested, and not enough to offset the overwhelming impact of sequestration. Our Federal Public Defenders provide indigent criminal defendants with their constitutionally protected right to counsel, and the effect of the CR and sequestration will substantially damage their ability to do their utmost to help their clients.

Lastly, federal employees are once again asked to endure a pay freeze. Our federal employees have already contributed an incredible amount of money to deficit reduction, and another federal pay freeze will only prevent the recruitment and retention of a qualified and committed workforce.

In reality, while this bill purports to maintain finding levels at the FY 2012 level, sequestration means further damaging cuts to these and other accounts. We need a solution that will prevent important services that all Americans depend on from being impacted, and allows all agencies the flexibility to address the current effect of the sequester. This bill fails in that regard.

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