Shelby Statement for the Record on FY 15 Homeland Security Markup and Status of Financial Services and General Government

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Vice-Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, entered the following opening statement into the official record following the markup of the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Bill.



Thank you, Madam Chair.

While we continue to mark up individual bills, our pace has slowed as the more controversial bills continue to fall off of the full committee’s agenda.

We have also run into a similar dynamic on the Senate floor.

Last week the Majority Leader severely restricted votes on both Democratic and Republican amendments in what appeared to be an effort to avoid tough votes.

This week the Financial Services and General Government (or FSGG) bill met the same fate.

In total, three bills have been withheld from full committee consideration. It is a serious blow to the hopes that I know we share, Madam Chair, for a real return to regular order.

These actions undermine the integrity of the legislative process by effectively silencing full committee participation.

The FSGG bill supports programs and agencies across the federal government, from the IRS to financial regulatory agencies, and from the Federal Judiciary to the Executive Office of the President.

This bill has enormous reach.

Withholding the opportunity to mark up and amend this bill subverts oversight and accountability of the very agencies that need scrutiny the most.

The subcommittee’s bill is full of provisions that would – and do – face opposition from both sides of the aisle.

It contains funding increases to overreaching Dodd-Frank regulatory agencies, as well as the IRS.

The IRS would receive hundreds of millions in additional funding to administer tax subsidies for Obamacare. This is a program that the agency’s own Inspector General tagged as vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

Members of this Committee know that oversight is essential to the proper functioning of government and that the power of the purse plays an important part in this effort.

We should not relinquish our authority – and this vital constitutional responsibility – so easily.

We will, however, consider the Homeland Security bill.

This bill supports the Department of Homeland Security in its efforts to protect the Nation from national security threats, respond to natural disasters, enforce immigration laws, and secure our airports and seaports.

It also includes steps to redress the Obama Administration’s irresponsible reluctance to enforce our Nation’s immigration laws.

The President’s flawed policies have instigated terrible human suffering at our borders by encouraging the illegal entry of thousands of unaccompanied children in hopes of receiving amnesty.

We must address this crisis by stemming the flow of illegal immigrant children and swiftly adjudicating their cases.

These children must be returned safely to their home countries, and I look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Thank you.