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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal. The Senate sent over a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government and included an agreement that the men and women of the armed services should receive their pay.

Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee, which must review and establish a rule for all bills brought before the House has once again changed the Senate bill to require a 1 year delay in the personal mandate for the Affordable Care Act, but added another change that would remove a subsidy for members of Congress and their staff.

What they fail to say is that Congress and Congressional staff are the only group in the nation that is required by the law to only get its healthcare through the Affordable Care Act Health Exchange Marketplace.

Ecclesiastics says that ``To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: There is a purpose or reason for everything that happens, be it called good or be it called bad, by whomever perceives it as such. No matter, there is a time and place for everything.''

The men and women of this Congress know that the time and season for making decisions regarding the budget of our Nation ends at midnight tonight--Monday, September 30, 2013.

The season for making decisions about funding the government began in January of this year, stretched on through the Spring, and was with us during the Summer now the end is upon us.

The majority of this body has not been able to organize themselves to do--or consider anything during the season for budget drafting and appropriations' legislation except to attempt to end the Affordable Care Act.

The members of the United States House of Representatives know the rules for the legislative budgetary process very well, but for the benefit of the millions of people who are watching this debate or listening to it--you might find it helpful to understand why there is so much dissention.

I would like to give you a brief outline of the work we are supposed to do on your behalf regarding funding the government: The Congress is to:

Pass a budget that is agreed to by both the House and the Senate;

Pass 12 appropriations bills that do not exceed the agreed upon budget to fund the entire Federal Government for the next fiscal year;

Complete the appropriations bills with both the House and the Senate agreeing to the language of each before and agreed to by both the House and the Senate and sent to the President's desk for signature; and rarely use Continuing Resolutions when Congress fails to complete all 12 bills before the fiscal year ends to ensure that the business of the Federal Government continues uninterrupted.

For most Americans this may mean very little because it is a Congressional administrative function that often used to help fund a few appropriations measures that may not be completed before the end of calendar year, which is midnight, Monday, September 30, 2013.

This year the use of the Continuing Resolution is different because we have not completed work on a budget bill nor have we completed work on any appropriations bill--not even the Defense Department's Appropriations legislation.

The House and the Senate have found agreement that a Continuing Resolution for the next Fiscal Year that will begin at 12:01 Tuesday, October 1, 2013 should provide that the Armed Forces who risk their lives to protect our freedoms deserve the support and resources needed to perform their duties, and that includes being paid in full and on time so they can provide for their families and loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, it would not be necessary to have to devote the considerable amount of time needed to debate and pass this legislation in the House and Senate and present it to the President if the House would simply pass the clean continuing resolution passed yesterday by the Senate.

The CR approved by the Senate funds the government and avoids a shutdown. President Obama has stated that he will sign it into law.

The clean CR passed by the Senate ensures that all the employees of the federal government are paid for the valuable and important service they provide to our nation.

Mr. Speaker, instead of exempting certain groups and persons from the harm caused by a government shutdown, we should instead be focused on avoiding a shutdown, which helps no one and hurts our economy.

Those of who were serving in this body 17 years ago remember the harm caused when the Republicans shut down the government on two different occasions, which directly cost taxpayers $1.4 billion. That is $2.1 billion in today's dollars.

The last time Republicans engineered a shut down of the government:

368 national park sites were closed.

200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed.

$3.7 billion of $18 billion in local contracts went unpaid.

My state of Texas would be hit very hard and suffer unnecessarily if a government shut down is not prevented.

Within days Texas would begin experiencing the impact of cutbacks in the $64.7 billion in federal spending that it receives annually, including the loss of:

$518 million in federal highway funds,

$411 million for interstate highway maintenance,

$130 million in home energy assistance for the poor,

$71 million in Homeland Security grants,

$55 million in coordinated border infrastructure and

$97 million in federal adoption assistance.

As a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, I am particularly concerned over the impact of a government shutdown on operations and activities that protect and secure the homeland Impacts of shutdown in Texas on homeland security.

For example, a shutdown would adversely affect the following:

Law Enforcement and Other Training: Law enforcement training would cease, including those conducted through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the Secret Service's J. Rowley Training Center. This would impact CBP, ICE, Secret Service, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and would delay their ability to bring new hires into operational service. TSA would also not be able to conduct training for screeners, Behavior Detection Officers or canine units.

Frontline Personnel Hardships: The majority of the workforces in Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) enforcement efforts, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) aviation passenger screening, and the Coast Guard, who are heavily reliant upon receiving biweekly paychecks, would not be paid biweekly during a federal funding hiatus

Grant Programs for State and Local Preparedness: All DHS and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel working on grants programs would be furloughed, ceasing any further activity intended to help build state and local resiliency. Should a federal funding hiatus be prolonged, state and local communities may have to eliminate jobs that are dependent upon grants funding. Further activity under the Securing the Cities program would be suspended.

In addition, a government shutdown will hurt children, seniors, working families, and the economically vulnerable:

Military Readiness: In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Funding will be halted to Texas on an annualized portion of the $1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Vaccines for Children: In Texas around 9,730 fewer children will not receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for personnel who administer programs that provide funding for vaccinations.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Texas would lose approximately $3,557,000 in funds that make it possible to provide meals for seniors.

For these reasons, we should be working to pass H.J. Res. 59 as amended by the Senate. That is the best way to keep faith with all persons who serve the American people as employees of the Federal Government, and those who depend upon the services they provide.

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