Rep. Roybal-Allard: "We Can't Keep Kicking the Can Down the Road"
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the Ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and an original co-author of the Dream Act, issued the following statement on the three-week Continuing Resolution:
“I oppose this so-called ‘deal’ on a three-week continuing resolution because it does not get us any closer to a bipartisan budget agreement that will enable us to complete our work on the appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2018, and because it does not give us any meaningful certainty about a deal for the Dreamers.
“Without a broad agreement on spending levels, we are yet again kicking the can down the road, for the fourth time in just this fiscal year alone. Governing by repeated CRs leaves federal agencies such as our Department of Defense unable to plan for the future or begin new initiatives. That undermines our national security and leaves our homeland more vulnerable. It is not how the appropriations process is supposed to work.
“Before the end of FY 2017, Speaker Paul Ryan said that a continuing resolution to keep the government open after September 30th would be necessary because the Senate would not be able to process the appropriations bills as quickly as the House so, and I quote, ‘we’re going to need more time to complete our appropriations process, particularly in the Senate.’ So Democrats voted to keep the government open in September and they helped keep it open again on December 8 and December 22.
“And here we are again. Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. Yet despite their full control of government, they are no closer to passing the spending bills that support programs and services important to American families and our military than they were four months ago. Once again they are saying trust us and give us even more time.
“Some of my Senate colleagues have decided to vote for this bill because Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to take up legislation by February 8 to keep our government running and to address the plight of Dreamers. But I am deeply skeptical. After all, Senator McConnell has made a lot of promises recently that he has failed to keep.
“Senator McConnell promised Senator Collins that bills to stabilize the Affordable Care Act markets would be ‘must-pass bills’ by the end of 2017 in exchange for her vote for the Republican tax bill. There has been no action.
“Senator Flake announced that Senator McConnell promised him a vote on DACA in exchange for his support of the tax reform bill, but there has been no action on McConnell’s promise.
“And when a shutdown loomed before passage of the FY 2017 omnibus, Senator McConnell said that neither that bill nor the FY 2018 appropriations bills ‘can be done by one party only. All of that will have to be done on a bipartisan basis.’ Yet there has only been partisan action on appropriations bills.
“It is difficult to trust a promise from a senator who has a history of breaking promises. Also unsettling and adding to skepticism is the fact that there is no commitment from Speaker Ryan to bring up a Senate bill to fund the government and help Dreamers. There is also no commitment from the president that he would sign a Senate bill – and even if there was, there is no guarantee he won’t again change his mind at a moment’s notice.
“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, and as one of the original authors of the Dream Act, I believe we must act NOW! We can’t keep kicking the can down the road on difficult decisions about government spending, and we can’t leave Dreamers living in fear and uncertainty. I oppose this CR because we need to vote on permanent solutions on the urgent issues facing our nation, including community health clinics, opioid addiction, Dream, and worker pensions, among others.”