Chairwoman Mikulski Statement on President Obama Signing Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement today on her work getting a bipartisan, bicameral fiscal year 2015 omnibus passed into law:
“This agreement keeps millions of Americans on the job by preventing shutdown of the federal government and ending government on autopilot. This legislation keeps commitments to our veterans by requiring advance funding for benefit programs and providing funds to break the backlog of disability claims. We provide more than $30 billion to the National Institutes for Health, a $150 million increase in base funding, so they can continue working on cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. The bill makes new investments in military readiness and medical research along with meeting the compelling human needs of families and children. And it creates jobs – both in my state of Maryland and across the country.
“But this bill required some very difficult choices. I didn’t support everything in this bill. But an omnibus is a compromise. We were able to get rid of the vast majority of poison pill riders that were in the House bill. Every single rider that we faced – 98 of them that came over from the House were hard fights and virtually all were eliminated. We were able to remove six irresponsible Wall Street riders from the final funding bill. We weren’t able to negotiate the last one away, but the final bill lessens its impact by increasing funding for enforcement of the remaining consumer financial protections. These were hard fights. We won most, lost a few, but fought them all.
“In addition to providing stability for federal programs, I am also proud that during the past two years as Appropriations Chairwoman, I’ve delivered three different spending bills and a special supplemental spending bill to respond to Hurricane Sandy, making significant progress towards re-establishing regular order in the Appropriations process. Reaching agreements on bicameral spending bills is never easy, but it’s worth doing because the American people expect us to work as hard as they do.
“The Omnibus bill makes funding choices cutting lower priority programs to pay for higher priorities and making common sense reforms. It includes reforms to go after waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication, starting with robust funding for the federal Inspectors General, who are our Executive Branch watchdogs. The bill prohibits federal contracts for felons and tax cheats and requires more oversight on federal information technology projects to prevent techno-boondoggles. None of these initiatives and none of these reforms would be public law today if we had not sought compromise and instead settled for a Continuing Resolution.
“Now this process and this agreement was not perfect. Compromise rarely is. Throughout my time as Chairwoman, we made an effort to work in a bipartisan spirit and we got results. I said at the start of this Congress that I was determined as the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee to deliver a bipartisan bill and I am pleased we were able to do that.”
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