Mikulski Statement at Full Committee Markup of the FY17 Interior and Financial Services Appropriations Bills


WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, participated in a Full Committee markup to consider the fiscal year 2017 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies (Interior) and Financial Services and General Government (Financial Services) Appropriations bills.


The following are Vice Chairwoman Mikulski’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:


“Chairman Cochran, the Committee is having a busy week.  Senator Shelby and I have the Commerce, Justice, Science bill on the floor.  We met yesterday in Conference with the House for the Veterans Affairs-Military Construction bill and Zika emergency supplemental.  And here today we have the both the Interior and Financial Services Appropriations bills.  I appreciate your cooperation and bipartisanship that has resulted in nine reported bills with a total of only one dissenting vote.  Unfortunately, that streak ends today.


“Thank you, Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Udall for your work on this bill.  But unfortunately the inclusion of poison pill riders and deep funding cuts mean I cannot support this Interior bill.  The riders in the bill invite a Presidential veto and cannot be supported by Democrats.  Many of these poison pills are very familiar.  We rejected almost all of these riders last year in order to pass a bipartisan Omnibus.  The President will veto this bill as is, so poison pill riders only produce delay, not progress.


“I’m also disappointed in the deep cuts for core environmental and public health priorities.  Efforts to keep the air clean are cut by 10 percent.  Efforts to keep our water clean are cut by 10 percent.  And funding to keep endangered species from going extinct is cut by 15 percent.


“I’m especially disappointed in the riders and cuts because this Interior bill supports many priorities important to every member here.  The bill funds the National Park Service so we can celebrate a century of America’s ‘best idea,’ invest in cutting down the maintenance backlog, and rebuild parks.  The Interior bill also supports protections for the Chesapeake Bay and many other programs important to Maryland.


“The bill creates a new commission to honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote – something we especially want to celebrate this election year.  I also want to recognize the increase in water infrastructure funding.  The small, but significant increase will help protect children from lead poisoning and modernize inadequate infrastructure.


“Turning to the Financial Services bill, I want to thank Chairman Boozman and Ranking Member Coons for producing a bill that avoids controversial riders.  I don’t love everything in the Financial Services bill.


“Along with Ranking Member Coons, I do not agree with some of the steep funding cuts – especially avoidable cuts to fee funded agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is frozen at the fiscal year 2016 level, and the Federal Communications Commission, which is cut by 11 percent.  I’m also disappointed no new funding for Office of Personnel Management (OPM) cyber improvements is included.


“But given that this is a fairly clean bill that does not include significant new authorizations or a long array of controversial poison pill riders, and meets a tough allocation with fair choices, I will support the bill.


“I am pleased that the bill makes permanent the provision requiring OPM to provide 10 years of credit monitoring and $5 million in identity theft insurance to victims of data breaches.  The bill also supports federal employees by allowing for a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.6 percent and including a provision preventing agencies from contracting out work that can and should be done by federal employees.


“Despite some disagreements on these bills, we stand ready to move the process along.”



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