Chairwoman Mikulski Statement on Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill

Contact: Vince Morris (202) 224-1010
WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement on the Senate Emergency Supplemental Funding bill she plans to introduce tomorrow:
“Tomorrow, I plan to introduce Emergency Supplemental Funding legislation that will provide funds to meet urgent needs, including fighting wildfires, helping our close ally Israel continue its Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, and addressing the crisis of children seeking refuge by the tens of thousands along our Southwestern border.
“The United States has an obligation to help resolve these crises, but is running out of money. The costs are real and urgent. We don’t save money by refusing to act or through delay. Without this Emergency Supplemental Funding bill, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will run out of funds to meet these needs as early as August.
“The bill is a responsible solution. It provides a total of $3.57 billion to meet essential and immediate needs. The total amount of the President’s request will be needed. However, based on a review of what is needed in calendar year 2014 to meet needs at the border, the bill reduces the President’s request by $1 billion.
“This bill provides $615 million to suppress dangerous and devastating wildfires. Already this year, more than 30,000 fires have raged across the nation from Florida to California. In Oregon and Washington State, firefighters are battling 20 major fires.  The largest of these blazes, Washington’s Carlton Complex Fire, is burning more than 237,000 acres. We cannot stand idly by while lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“This bill also provides $225 million to accelerate production for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. Hamas has launched more than 2,000 missiles at Israel from Gaza in the current conflict. The Iron Dome has saved lives by intercepting 90 percent of these rockets. Israel is an essential American ally and needs these assets to defend itself.
“Finally, this bill provides $2.73 billion to address the crisis of children seeking refuge at our Southwestern border.  Already 60,000 children have arrived. More than 90,000 are expected by the end of this year. These children are not the threat. They are seeking refuge from the threat: violence from organized crime, gangs, and vile human traffickers in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
“This is a funding bill, so it does not include immigration legislation.
“I believe this bill provides the most effective path forward to meet our nation’s obligation to protect the safety and health of the children seeking refuge, speed determination of their asylum status, and create a strategy to go after the smugglers, crime, and violence that are driving children and families from their home countries.
“I agree with the President that this is an emergency under the law. I hope the Senate will move forward swiftly to consider it before more people suffer as a result of these growing crises.”