U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) issued the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. This bill funds the federal government for Fiscal Year 2014.
"While this bipartisan agreement is not perfect, it takes a step toward fiscal responsibility and returns us to regular order. For the fourth year in a row, we are cutting discretionary spending which hasn't happened since the Korean War. This bill provides funding to reduce the processing backlog for Veterans Disability Claims and provides $20 million in funding to protect our groves from the deadly disease of citrus greening, which is threatening to destroy the entire citrus industry and its impact on our local economy.
"While we are still working hard to ensure that all members of the military receive the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) that they are due, this bill takes a step toward that goal and ensures that 63,000 medically retired members of the military and their survivors receive a full COLA. Since amendments were restricted, my colleagues and I have already joined together to introduce legislation to prevent any reductions to the COLA attached to all military retirees. We are urging our colleagues to take up this important legislation immediately.
"I voted for this agreement because it is our last chance to prevent the full impact of the national security-threatening sequester cuts that would harm our safety and the well-being of our men and women serving in areas of conflict across the globe. It would also reduce the deficit by more than $20 billion and will help prevent a government shutdown in the future."
* Fiscal Year 2014 runs from October 1, 2013 -- September 30, 2014.
* Rep. Ross introduced H.R. 239, the Zero-based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight Act January 2013. This bill requires agency and department managers to justify and approve every line item on their budget each year, rather than just make slight changes to the previous year's budget.