The House of Representatives passed legislation today, the "Continuing Resolution," that will fund the federal government through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. This bill was passed by the Senate yesterday, and now goes to the President for his signature. The House passed the Continuing Resolution in a strong bipartisan vote of 318-109.
Importantly, this legislation includes the restoration of the military tuition assistance program that the Administration chose to terminate for the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Congressman Gibson led the effort in the House to restore this program, working with a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members committed to ensuring that active duty troops could continue to utilize tuition benefits.
The Continuing Resolution also includes language championed by Congressman Gibson that acknowledges both the necessity of ongoing research efforts to combat tick-borne illnesses as well as encourages the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) to maintain its efforts related to Lyme. The amendment urges ARS to consider the human and economic impacts of Lyme Disease. By its inclusion today, this language has now been codified as a priority of the House of Representatives and can be considered by ARS as it allocates its federal funding.
"Today's vote in the House affirms that it is possible to incorporate funding for targeted priorities in Upstate New York while still adhering to spending levels that begin the process of restoring fiscal responsibility. Without question, there is more to do and the sequester is not the best way to implement cuts in spending. But, it was important that we not have the threat of a government shutdown impeding our efforts to reach a major, bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction. Notably, in addition to my priorities for our district, the Continuing Resolution also does not include increased funding for the President's health care law," said Congressman Gibson. "As we move to negotiations over spending for Fiscal Year 2014, I am hopeful that the House and Senate will have clear positions with budgets passed in both bodies. Then, we can finally enact real deficit reduction that puts in place policies to grow our economy instead of just talking about it."
The bill also continues funding for the rural broadband loan program, which Congressman Gibson saved from elimination in 2011. In addition, the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs have been given greater flexibility to allocate funds in the best way possible to support our troops and veterans in order to better manage the impact of the sequester.