Rep. Beto O' Rourke (TX-16) released the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res 25, a measure that extends funding for the government and includes language from two bills he recently helped champion- a bill to reinstate funding for military tuition assistance programs (H.R. 1265) and the Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act (H.R. 1108) which allows for public-private partnerships to help faciliate trade at the border:
"Today I voted to keep the government running through the rest of the fiscal year and provide some relief from the worst impacts of the sequester on El Paso," said Rep. O'Rourke. "In addition, the legislation includes two provisions that I have championed: Public-Private partnerships that will allow local governments to help fund increased staffing at our ports of entry and a continuation of the military's tuition assistance program that helps active duty Service Members attend college. On Tuesday I introduced legislation to continue the tuition assistance program and the language from my bill (H.R. 1265) was included in the final bill as an amendment.
The Senate Amendments to the Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933) provides full, detailed spending bills for five agencies, including Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. For Fort Bliss, this means additional flexibility to deal with the cuts from the sequester and a modest pay raise for active duty service members. It fully funds current staffing levels for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While this will not prevent all of the cuts facing CBP employees, it should substantially reduce the number of furlough days. Funding for the Veterans Administration (VA) is protected from the sequester and H.R. 933 ensures that the VA receives the resources they need.
Unfortunately, this legislation does not replace the sequester in a number of important areas, including education and transportation. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the sequester will result in 750,000 lost jobs. Congress should be working to fix it. I strongly support Congress staying in D.C. to resolve the sequester instead of adjourning for two week recess and I am joining a number of my colleagues in writing to Speaker Boehner requesting more work days so we can be here to solve the problems we were elected to work on."