Vice Chairman Leahy Statement on Interior, FSGG, Agriculture, T-HUD Minibus

I am pleased to be here at the third appropriations conference of Fiscal Year 2019.  We have made a lot of progress toward an agreement on the four bills before us – Interior, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD – that will allow us to move this package forward, but we still have work to do and differences to resolve.

Together these bills demonstrate the importance of the bipartisan budget agreement reached earlier this year.  In these four bills, the priorities outlined in that agreement are made into real policy to improve the lives of Americans. 

The Agriculture bill continues strong support for our country’s farmers and invests in rural development and housing programs.  The Financial Services bill supports regulatory agencies that the American people rely on to protect them from unfair, unsafe or fraudulent business practices.

The Interior bill protects the Environmental Protection Agency from the reckless cuts proposed by the Trump Administration, and helps ensure that our children and grandchildren will enjoy clean air and water.  And it supports our National Parks, which are treasures that must be protected for future generations.

And the Transportation bill contains nearly $11 billion in new funding compared to fiscal year 2017 to invest in our nation’s housing and infrastructure.  This is all thanks to the Bipartisan Budget Deal reached earlier this year.  Everyone here knows of the urgent need to address the crumbling infrastructure that plagues each of our states.  This is a good first step.

I want to thank Chairman Shelby for his commitment to a bipartisan process that has made this progress possible.  I also want to thank all of the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Subcommittees, as well as Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey.  I am hopeful that we can resolve the remaining differences and finalize this agreement in short order.  In the Senate, we are committed to getting nine appropriations bills to the President’s desk before the end of the Fiscal Year, consistent with the bipartisan budget agreement and free of poison pill riders.  

I look forward to producing a good compromise bill that can pass both chambers with bipartisan support.  It is my hope that Congress will send this bill, along with the other two minibus appropriations bills, to the President, for a total of nine appropriations bills, before September 30.  I encourage the President to embrace the effort to meet the needs of the American people by signing this legislation.  

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CONTACT: Jay Tilton - 202-224-2667