(House of Representatives - May 03, 2017)

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[Page H3073]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen). The Chair recognizes the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Mitchell) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MITCHELL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to express my 
disappointment that, yet again, Congress needs to resort to another 
omnibus spending bill. We are in a bind right now, finishing fiscal 
business that should have been completed last year, long before I came 
to Congress.
  At this moment, the choice is stark and binary: We can vote to shut 
the government down, or we can vote for this massive funding bill. 
Neither is a good option, but shutting down the government is reckless. 
It would stall military pay and send a sign of weakness to the world. 
At a time when North Korea is becoming increasingly aggressive, Europe 
is unstable, and Russia is posturing, we cannot afford to shut down.
  I have always said, and I believe, that effective leadership needs to 
say what you mean and do what you say. If I voted ``no'' on this 
legislation, it would be disingenuous because I know a shutdown would 
be disastrous. This is a hard vote to take, but it is unavoidable at 
this point.
  We must continue to pay our troops and other uniformed personnel. We 
must fund critical programs included in this omnibus. Certainly, the 
legislation is not perfect and doesn't accomplish everything I want as 
a conservative, but it does achieve some objectives. It cuts 150 
Federal programs. It reduces the EPA bureaucracy to the lowest level 
since 1989.
  The legislation also funds critical programs Republicans have been 
fighting for: It strengthens our military with an increase in defense 
spending, enabling the purchase of new warships, aircraft, and weapons. 
It provides a meaningful increase in salary to our uniform personnel. 
It provides additional funds to thwart the global war on terror and 
fight ISIS.
  It is part of an overall $1.52 billion increase in resources for 
border security, meaning more agents, enhanced technology, updated 
infrastructure to stem the flow of illegal aliens and drug activity 
across our border. It includes funds to fight the opioid epidemic, 
funding grants, treatment, and prevention efforts. It also provides 
increased funds for the National Institutes of Health to continue 
disease research that impacts every family.
  For Michigan, important programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration 
Initiative are fully funded. It appropriates $5.6 million to study the 
potential invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.
  While there are beneficial components in this omnibus, I want to 
underscore that using an omnibus is not how this body should function. 
We should be passing targeted, individual spending measures that 
address each agency, rather than a take-it-or-leave-it massive spending 
  Going forward, we must change what has become business as usual in 
Washington. That is why I ran for Congress. There is no doubt, that 
won't be easy. I am learning every day how much our system needs 
significant reform. Only four times since 1977 were all appropriations 
enacted by the start of the fiscal year. That is four times in the last 
40 years that the appropriations process has been effectively 
completed. Given that, it is unsurprising we find ourselves making this 
unfortunate choice yet again.
  Madam Speaker, I stand here to say we can do better; we must do 
better. I urge this body to come together to address the shortcomings 
in our appropriations process and develop better solutions for the 
future. Given today's options, I am voting to keep our government open, 
but we must end this series of short-term funding measures. We can do 
better. Our constituents deserve better.