Chairwoman Mikulski Statement on the FY15 Omnibus

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015” was filed today:
“This agreement means no government shutdown and no government on autopilot. In today’s era of slamdown politics, we were able to set aside our differences. Working across the aisle and across the dome, we created compromise without capitulation.
“The American people deserve progress, not conflict. They deserve a government on their side that works as hard as they do. This agreement is not just a government funding bill. It’s a statement about our national values. That’s because what we invest in is what we stand up for – making smart choices with limited resources.
“This agreement meets our national security needs. It ensures the readiness of our troops and keeps us safe at home and abroad. It honors our commitment to our veterans allowing advance funding for Veterans Administration accounts so they are locked in a year in advance, ending uncertainty. Our agreement also provides funds to respond to and prepare for Ebola at the epicenter. We keep faith with dedicated federal workers by providing a one percent cost of living increase for both grade scale and general scale employees.
“This agreement meets compelling human needs like health care and education. It protects the opportunity ladder by increasing Pell Grants and making college more affordable. It also protects the most vulnerable among us, including children and seniors.
“This bill invests in America’s future by creating jobs today and jobs tomorrow. It strengthens our physical infrastructure, building roads and bridges and creating jobs in construction to keep the economy moving. It supports research and discoveries to save lives and spur the development of new products that lead to new jobs.
“At the same time, we’ve included reforms going after waste, fraud and abuse. No more federal contracts for felons and tax cheats. More oversight will be required on federal information technology projects to prevent techno-boondoggles. And we’ve included robust funding for federal Inspectors General, who are our Executive Branch watchdogs.
“My most sincere thanks go to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers for being a good partner in these negotiations, and also Ranking Members Richard Shelby and Nita Lowey for their hard work. While I’m disappointed that this bill is being brought before Congress as a single, omnibus measure, it is the result of nine months of work, including nearly 60 hearings and hundreds of briefings. This agreement represents work by a whole team of Subcommittee Chairs and Ranking Members, Democrats and Republicans, and I want to thank them all. The House and Senate will both consider the agreement this week and I look forward to its passage and enactment.”