WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.012 trillion omnibus spending bill Wednesday by a notable majority bipartisan vote of 359-67, including all four of Utah’s representatives. The Senate now has until midnight Saturday to consider the bill for approval. If approved by the upper chamber, the legislation serve to avoid another government shutdown through September 30 providing discretionary funding for the federal government’s operation, including military and other programs that were subject to sequester.
“This legislation is one of our highest priorities as Members of Congress and it is critical to our ongoing economic stability and the safety and well-being of the American people,” Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Harold Rogers said. “It is a good bill and the bipartisan product of careful negotiations between the House and the Senate. It provides every facet of the federal government with adequate, responsible funding, while continuing to reduce federal spending – totaling $165 billion in cuts since fiscal year 2010.
“Our colleagues in the Senate should now pass this bill in short order,” Rogers said. “More than three months into the fiscal year, it is high time that we finish our work for 2014, so that we can turn our attention to completing our work for 2015 on time and in regular order.”
All of Utah’s congressional representatives voted in favor of the bill.
After the passage of the House bill, Rep. Chris Stewart, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement:
The passage of this appropriations bill is an important step in restoring fiscal responsibility. It’s far from perfect, but it contains a number of important reforms Conservatives have been pursuing for years. The bill cuts a billion dollars from Obamacare, restores funding to national defense and marks the first time since the Korean War that discretionary spending has decreased four years in a row.
Importantly, the bill also represents Congress taking back its constitutionally-mandated role in holding unelected bureaucrats accountable for taxpayer dollars.
As long as we have to negotiate with Senate Democrats who favor big government, weaker national defense, and less individual freedom, bills such as this will never be perfect, but I’m confident this is a good first step.
Congressman Jim Matheson said in a statement released Wednesday that the bill represents a scaled back federal budget, with a lower total spending amount than any plan since President George W. Bush’s time in office. He said:
I am pleased to see a product that reflects a bipartisan commitment to lower spending. I have said time and again that a strong, robust economy depends on reining in what we spend as a country,” Matheson said. “Equally important, this legislation keeps the government open and eliminates the uncertainty and economic instability that results from the kind of short-term ‘fixes’ that have been too commonplace over the last few years.
Rep. Rob Bishop released the following statement:
For years now, differing views on how we ought to prioritize federal funding have led to impassable gridlock between the House and Senate. That resulted in the necessary passage of short term spending bills known as continuing resolutions. The one thing upon which both the House and Senate agreed was that this was not the ideal way to budget and fund annual federal operations. Subsequently, we were able to find enough common ground to produce a comprehensive appropriations bill for 2014. Although the final bill isn’t what I would have drafted had I been the sole author, it ensures that Congress returns to regular order and gets back to addressing some of the biggest priorities facing our nation. I was pleased with some components, and displeased with others. It’s safe to say that nobody walked away completely satisfied. I am pleased that with the passage of this bill, we will effectively prevent future furloughs and avoid another potential shutdown of the government. I was disappointed by the exclusion of PILT, however, there is commitment from both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress to get that done through a different legislative avenue. It is my hope that this appropriations bill will turn a new leaf for the Senate, and they will recognize the merits of providing stability and certainty for both the federal government and for the country.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that he voted yes for the fiscal year 2014 and 2015 budget resolution and the FY2014 omnibus appropriations bill because the benefits outweigh the costs and the compromise avoided another government shutdown. In a separate statement, Chaffetz gave his reasons for supporting the legislation:
While the bill is far from perfect, the benefits of the bill outweigh the costs. First, we avoid another government shutdown. Second, over the next ten years, this budget will reduce deficits by $23 billion ($14 billion if interest is included). Many of the mandatory spending cuts will continue beyond the ten-year budget window, yielding additional savings of $100 billion in the second decade according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Third, we avoid larger-than-necessary cuts to FY 2014 defense spending. While Congress needs to slow the growth in defense spending just like the rest of the budget, defense spending as a percent of GDP and federal spending will continue to decrease substantially over the next several years.
Also, this budget resolution allows Congress to return to regular order by going through the appropriations process instead of relying on continuing resolutions. The regular appropriations process is a better way to make sure that spending is correctly prioritized and taxpayer dollars are spent most efficiently.
The real threat to our nation, however, is not discretionary spending, which this budget resolution addresses. In fact, non-emergency, non-OCO, discretionary spending in FY 2014 and FY 2015 as stipulated in this budget resolution will be lower than it was 2011. The real drivers of our long-term budget deficits are entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Budget resolutions such as the one we passed today impact less than one-third of the total federal budget. While we need to focus on discretionary spending, the real emphasis needs to be on entitlements, which is why I have proposed a common sense Social Security proposal.
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