Chair Van Hollen Remarks on Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill at Markup
ICYMI: Summary of the Financial Services and General Government 2024 Appropriations Bill – READ HERE
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks on the Financial Services and General Government Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill as the full committee meets to consider the bill.
Senator Van Hollen’s remarks, as delivered, are below:
“Thank you Chair Murray, and I do want to start—as others have started—by thanking you and Vice Chair Collins for bringing this Appropriations Committee together so that we can do the important business for our constituents and for the country.
“Let me also say at the outset how much we enjoyed working with Senator Hagerty. I don’t know if he’s in the room—I know he’ll be back. We were able to resolve many many issues in a bipartisan way. I would also like to thank the staff who have been working very late nights and early mornings. Starting with Ellen Murray, and then Dianna Hamilton, Maddie Dunn, Dan Grant, Whiney Chang, and Alec Shultz. And again, the staff on a bipartisan basis really worked well together, and I want to thank all of them.
“Colleagues, the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, also known as FSGG, has a broad collectionof agencies under it. From Treasury and the IRS, to the Federal Judiciary to the Small Business Administration to agencies like the FCC, FTC, SEC – in fact, there’s such a broad array I’m not going to go into each and every one of them and what we did on each of their budgets. I do want to highlights a couple things that we were able to do on a bipartisan basis.
“One is FINCEN, which is an agency that works to crack down on international illegal financing. We wanted to make sure that the beneficial ownership database is able to crack down on bad actors in the international financial system, folks like Russian oligarchs and other kleptocrats.
“In order to further American security, the bill increases funding for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The bill also does provide the IRS the funds that it needs to provide customer service, to help modernize its systems, and to ensure that wealthy people who have not paid the taxes that are due, have their taxes collected. I think it’s no secret that as part of the agreement reached between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy and others, the IRS mandatory funding was cut, but we have done our very best to protect those priorities within the reduced amounts on an ongoing basis.
“We’ve also established funds to allow the administration to closely monitor and test fentanyl use and lacing; something that is on the mind of all of us and all of our constituents.
“So let me just say this: Senator Hagerty is not back yet, but again I want to thank him. I think all of us who go through this process recognize that in these bills there are some things that we’d like to get in that we haven’t. There are also something’s that are in these bills that some of us would prefer would not be in. And I’ll just mention the legacy riders as a matter of record. There are a lot of riders that were put in in year’s past – originally on a one year basis—that have become sort of ensconced in these bills. I just want to say on the record that there are many of them that I oppose in this bill. But, in the interest of getting a bipartisan agreement and getting these budgets through, we recognize that we had to make some tough choices.
“The final thing I will say—because it will be the subject of an amendment. As I indicated earlier, we cover the federal judiciary. I hoped at the subcommittee level that we would be able to get some language requiring, finally, that the Supreme Court of the United States establish an ethics code of conduct. We were not able to get that done on a bipartisan basis, so I will be offering an amendment for the purposes of discussion, and we will see where that discussion goes.
“But let me close where I started by thanking both the Chair and the Vice Chair, and Senator Hagerty. And with that, I yield.”
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