Today, the full committee met to consider the fiscal year 2021 subcommittee allocations, known as "302(b)" allocations. The appropriations bills for the subcommittees on State and Foreign Operations; Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs were also considered. Committee Republicans were unable to support the allocations or the individual bills due to a total spending level that is well above the current budget agreement and controversial policy provisions that are in the bills.
Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), the lead Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said of the measures, "The tradition of the Appropriations Committee has long been one of cooperation and bipartisanship, even during the most polarizing times. Instead of working with Republicans to craft legislation that both sides can support, and that the President can sign into law, Democrats have abandoned our proud traditions by bringing forth bills similar to the extremely partisan legislation that leaders of the Majority party have put on the House floor this Congress.
"The amendments offered by Republicans today would have ensured a stronger southern border, increased needed oversight on dollars spent overseas, and supported important measures to protect life. It is disappointing that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have decided to walk back their commitment to bipartisan funding bills, instead insisting on political messaging and more deficit spending. I hope we can work out our differences during the coming weeks and months because there is no reason to send these unacceptable bills to the President's desk."
Full Committee Vice-Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) added, "While I am encouraged to see the appropriations process for fiscal year 2021 moving forward, I am very concerned by the partisan approach taken by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. When it comes to funding the nation's priorities, good faith negotiation must be present at every stage. In divided government, that might be challenging, but it's certainly not impossible. Unfortunately, the 302(b) allocations and most of the bills advanced out of the committee so far are certain to complicate any bicameral negotiations and will never be signed into law."
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-KY) added, "There are critical investments in this bill worthy of bipartisan support; however, it is a shame that they are undermined by a partisan wish list that effectively shuts down support across the aisle. The poison pills inserted into the appropriations process roll back oversight measures on the UN and international organizations, mandate controversial spending on international climate funds, and discards important language to protect the sanctity of life. I hope we can find a sensible path forward to fund vital programs for this country."
Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) added, "This Agriculture bill does several important things: ensures food security; expands rural broadband; grows the Farm of the Future, connecting the urban to the rural and the farm to the family. As we further deliberate on these issues, it's my preference to let all the good in this bill shine and to continue with the normal bipartisan conversations that are the hallmark of the Agriculture community----to get this into law in a mutually acceptable way."
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Ranking Member Judge Carter (R-TX) added, "While I support the funding provided for military construction projects and veterans' programs in this year's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, I have major concerns that prevent me from supporting it. Throughout my time in Congress, I have focused on three things: soldiers, their families, and veterans, and there are provisions in this legislation that unfairly punish our men and women in uniform stationed on bases that bear the name of Confederate officers. This provision hurts the soldiers that are assigned to these installations, including Ft. Hood in my district, and I will not support legislation that unfairly punishes those who serve our nation for something they have no control over."
Backing their commitment to conservative policies, Republican Members offered amendments to:
-Allow funds to be used for a physical barrier along the southern border, enabling the Trump Administration to use military construction funds to address the situation;
-Promote pro-life policies by ensuring that organizations receiving federal funds do not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, and prohibiting funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA);
-Invest in efforts to counter China;
-Stop funds from being directed to the Green Climate Fund;
-Insist on reforms at the United Nations and international organizations, including the World Health Organization, that promote transparency and accountability; and
-Reduce excessive spending that would contribute to the record-high national debt and annual deficits.