Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Rush Holt, Jr.
Date: March 6, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill.

While this bill does exempt the Department of Veterans Affairs from sequestration, that is the only good news in this bill.

H.R. 933 does provide the Department of Defense with a better balance between its operations and maintenance accounts and its longer-term investment accounts. However, it will do nothing to stop the $46 billion sequester for the Department of Defense, which will result in civilian furloughs, deployment and training cutbacks, and facility maintenance cuts.

The bill shortchanges our homeland security needs by denying a requested increase for FEMA State and Local Grants, locking the program into its lowest funding level in history and shortchanging disaster preparedness and anti-terrorism funds to states, urban areas, ports, transit, and first responders.

Communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy are also shortchanged by this bill. H.R. 933 does not include funding requests important for disaster recovery, cyber-security, water infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and weatherization, including a request to lower the local cost-share from 65/35 to 90/10 for Army Corps of Engineers projects in communities affected by Sandy, hindering ability of local communities to recover and rebuild.

The bill also violates the intent of the Affordable Care Act by failing to include a requested $949 million to implement health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, scheduled to begin enrolling participants in October. Funding is needed for IT infrastructure to process enrollments and payments, eligibility verification, call centers, and other assistance to help individuals and small businesses select and enroll in health plans.

I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this badly flawed bill.


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