Lucas: Funding Bill Abandons Bipartisan Agreement, Prioritizes Partisan Politics

Jul 24, 2020
Economy
Press

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7608- the State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2021. Lucas opposed the legislation.

“At a time when Americans are looking to Congress to lead by example, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is instead putting politics over the safety and security of the American people and our economy,” said Congressman Lucas. “It wasn’t long ago that a bipartisan and bicameral budget cap compromise was struck between the President and congressional leaders, but unfortunately today, those good faith agreements have been pushed aside by House Democrats to make room for partisan policies.

“The bills included into today’s funding bill spend billions on top of current budget caps, jeopardizes our national security, threatens energy production, and it adds burdensome regulations to the American economy. During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s imperative we remain fiscally responsible and prioritize the American taxpayer’s dollar. Congress can’t spend more money simply because we aren’t willing to make tough decisions. The American people deserve a Congress willing to live up to that standard.”

Background:

H.R. 7608:

  • Designates $37.5 billion as “emergency” spending, which is additional funding on top of the budget caps in the Bipartisan Budget Act signed into law last year. Within the total,
    • $15 billion is for the Democrats’ partisan infrastructure bill, mostly for the Environmental Protection Agency;
    • Another $10 billion is for coronavirus relief, even though the Democrats passed a $3 trillion supplemental bill in May that is going to be considered by the Senate in the next few weeks; and
    • $12.5 billion is for veterans’ health care, even though it was known that additional funding would be needed when the budget caps were put in place.
  • Prohibits funds from being used for a border wall system along the southern border.
  • Restricts the President’s ability to transfer funds to address a national emergency.
  • Overturns the Administration’s current Mexico City Policy, allowing foreign organizations to receive federal funds even if they perform abortions.
  • Provides $55.5 million for the United National Population Fund (UNFPA), even though the Administration has determined that UNFPA participates in the management of a coercive abortion program.
  • Removes conditions that promote transparency and accountability on the United Nations and international organizations, including the World Health Organization.
  • Prevents the Administration from making much-needed reforms to programs that are plagued by improper payments – the Department of Agriculture reported overpayments of $3.44 billion in 2019 alone.
  • Permanently prevents this and any future Administration from making changes to welfare programs that simply require working age, non-disabled adults without children to go back to work in times of low unemployment.
  • Recklessly limits America’s domestic energy and mineral production by:
    • Restricting oil and gas production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
    • Preventing new offshore energy exploration; and
    • Prohibiting the mining of metals in northern Minnesota.
  • Underfunds the President’s request by $12 million for offshore and onshore conventional energy development.
  • Directs $500 million to international climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund, even though the benefits of this spending are questionable and the potential for fraud is high.
  • Hurts job creators by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to overstep with cumbersome regulations by:
    • Failing to exempt farmers and livestock producers from burdensome greenhouse gas permitting and reporting requirements;
    • Undermining the Administration’s ability to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations on methane, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”), and Waters of the U.S. (“WOTUS”); and
    • Prohibiting the Administration from finalizing guidance to prevent extreme delays on energy infrastructure projects.

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