Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement on passage of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. She voted to support this measure in order to avoid a government shutdown on March 27 and to fund the Federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The bill earned significant bipartisan support, passing with a vote of 318-109. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
"The final Continuing Appropriations bill that passed the House of Representatives today is an improved version of the initial legislation, but it is far from where we need to be. Both parties came together to ensure that greater flexibility in funding was provided to the Department of Defense, as well as addressing some domestic priorities like agriculture, public safety, and rural development. The bill also prevents a government shutdown next week, protecting our economy from yet another manufactured crisis.
"There is still much work to be done to ensure we are protecting and serving those most in need. As we plan for our long-term future, I will continue to push for common-sense initiatives that strike a balance between targeted spending cuts and closing tax loopholes for special interests.
"I am pleased that this bill reinstates Department of Defense tuition assistance education programs that were initially suspended due to the across-the-board cuts which were put in effect earlier this month. These earned educational benefits exist to ensure our troops gain further leadership skills, and to set them up for success upon their eventual transition from military to civilian life. Our service members have made tremendous personal sacrifices for our country. This is a step toward ensuring they are properly served in return."
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard cosponsored the House legislation (H.R. 1265) to restore the programs. Yesterday, she also sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calling for the programs to be reinstated.