Today, U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) supported the omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, which passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support. The omnibus cuts billions in wasteful government spending while making smart investments that are important for job growth.
"I am pleased to see Congress start 2014 off on bipartisan footing. Today we voted for a long-term funding measure that reduces our deficit by $23 billion by balancing smart investments with responsible cuts and tackling waste, fraud, and abuse. For the past several years, political uncertainty and manufactured crises have left the private sector without the stability they need to spur economic growth and job creation, to the detriment of our economic recovery. With this agreement, American families and businesses no longer have to fear another harmful government shutdown and are provided with much-needed stability. It is great to see Congress finally working together to do its job: direct smart, responsible government spending to create an environment conducive to job growth."
Overview -- Impacts on Florida's 18th District:
The omnibus repeals some of the cuts to cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for disabled military retirees and survivors that were included in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. At the same time, the bill increases funding to address the VA disability claims backlog. Committed to protecting our nation's veterans and the benefits they have earned through their service to our nation, Congressman Murphy has been pushing for legislation to eliminate all cuts to military retiree cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) included in the budget and has been leading efforts to prioritize reducing the VA backlog. While not fully resolving these pressing issues, this omnibus includes progress on both fronts.
For some homeowners facing exorbitant flood insurance rate hikes, the legislation will provide relief through October. Congress must build on this positive step and pass comprehensive rate hike relief, which Congressman Murphy has been strongly advocating for throughout his first year in office. In the meantime, additional funding is provided to FEMA to ensure that redrawn flood maps are accurate and fair so that they do not erroneously hike rates for homeowners in our area.
Another important provision included in the omnibus for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches is additional funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, allowing more projects to move forward expeditiously. USDA funding also gets a boost in the bill to better support water farming initiatives as well as research to combat citrus greening, an issue the Congressman has been working actively on in support of the local citrus industry.
The bill also supports programs that will boost the economy and create long-term jobs, including investments in the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the BRAIN initiative to combat Alzheimer's. Fortunately, the bipartisan agreement reduces the deficit without cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits for our seniors who have earned these benefits through a lifetime of hard work.
Manufacturing benefit from enhanced investments in the Manufacturing Extension Program, and from DoD's Rapid Innovation Fund. New breakthroughs in clean and renewable energy tech are also supported in the bill through Department of Energy science grants and contracts. Additionally, national infrastructure developments funded under this bill will support long-term growth in commerce and lower the cost of doing business. Smart investments in early education funding included in the bill will prepare our youngest Americans for when they enter the workforce.
A major component of this bill is dedicated to rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse across the government, which continues to be one of Congressman Murphy's top priorities. The bill requires every agency to reduce the cost of travel, supplies, rent, and utilities by 10 percent. It cuts spending to obsolete defense programs and takes a hard look at foreign aid programs. At the same time, the omnibus increases funding for government's two watchdog organizations: the Government Accountability Office and Inspector General--both proven to save the government far more money than they spend. Overall, the bipartisan budget and omnibus will reduce the deficit by $23 billion.