Sep 19 2019

Shelby: Appropriations Committee Advances Important Spending Measures

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today held a full committee markup where the committee approved the FY2020 bills for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government.  The bills were each reported favorably out of the committee by a vote of 31-0 and contain important provisions impacting the state of Alabama.

“These spending measures advanced by the committee today are a positive step in this year’s appropriations process,” said Senator Shelby.  “From supporting local farmers to building upon our strong infrastructure, transportation, and financial systems, these bills prioritize the needs of the people of Alabama and the nation.  I am proud of the progress made on these bills, and I am hopeful that we can move other bills forward in the right direction.” 

The T-HUD bill provides funding to improve our nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure and will continue to advance our air traffic control systems and aircraft certification processes.  The Agriculture funding measure supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rural development, conservation programs, and food and drug safety.  It also creates incentives for military veterans to enter careers in agriculture and supports significant resources for the Federal Drug Administration to combat the opioid epidemic.  The Financial Services and General Government bill includes targeted funding increases for the Treasury Department to combat money laundering and terrorism financing; for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to oversee our nation’s securities, swaps, and futures markets; for the Federal courts to support the administration of justice; and for the General Services Administration’s Federal Buildings Fund.

Senator Shelby’s full remarks, as prepared, are as follows:

“The committee will come to order.  Today the committee considers the FY20 appropriations bills approved by the subcommittees on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development; Agriculture; and Financial Services.

“I want to congratulate the chairs and ranking members of these subcommittees for their hard work in crafting these bills: Senators Collins, Hoeven, and Kennedy on the Republican side; Senators Reed, Merkley, and Coons on the Democratic side.

“I also want to thank each you for working together in a bipartisan manner.

“Together, these three bills account for 20 percent of non-defense discretionary spending.

“They contain critical investments that will enhance our nation’s infrastructure, aid America’s farmers, and strengthen our financial system.

“Momentarily, I will turn to each of the chairs and ranking members to present their respective bills.

“First, I want to briefly comment on where we are in the overall appropriations process and how we need to proceed.

“Yesterday on the floor, we tried to bring up the first package of appropriations bills sent over by the House.

“Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues would not allow us to do so.

“Because we were not allowed to proceed, our military’s efforts to plan deliberately in countering Russian and Chinese influence could be undermined.

“Because we were not allowed to proceed, our plans to provide soldiers with the largest pay increase in a decade will be delayed.

“Funding our military in a timely manner should not just be a Republican priority; it should be an American priority.

“I know that my Democratic colleagues want to restrict the President’s ability to transfer funds to secure our border.

“But the budget agreement — negotiated by Republican and Democratic Leaders — plainly prohibits such restrictions.

“If that agreement was negotiated in good faith, then a bill containing no such restrictions should be our common goal — not a source of division.

“I also understand that my Democratic colleagues want to move domestic spending bills promptly.

“So do Republicans — that is why we tried to proceed yesterday to the same package of bills the House sent over.

“Since that package was crafted by a Democratic majority in the House, it is puzzling why the Democratic minority in the Senate believes it shortchanges domestic spending.

“Ultimately, we have to move forward together.  To do that, we have to be able to work in good faith.  If we cannot, this process will not work very well at all.

“The Members of this committee on both sides know how to work together to get the job done.  We demonstrated as much in the FY19 process.

“Today we find ourselves at a critical point in the FY20 process.

“Hopefully, the three bipartisan bills we are considering today will help move us in the right direction, which is bipartisan cooperation.

“I now recognize the Vice Chairman for any remarks he may have and to make a motion.”