Rooney: Funding Bill a “Huge Victory” for Smaller Government
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said that today’s passage of the Omnibus Appropriations package represents a huge victory for proponents of smaller, more effective government, and for Florida’s 17th district.
“Our bill brings federal spending to the lowest level in nearly a decade,” Rooney said. “Instead of punting with another Continuing Resolution, and doing the same things we’ve been doing for years, we’re making much-needed reforms. We’re holding federal agencies accountable by cutting spending on programs that don’t work, investing in programs that are effective, and ensuring your taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. A CR simply kicks the can down the road.
“Additionally, by only funding the Department of Homeland Security until early next year, we’re giving ourselves the best chance to fight President Obama’s executive amnesty. We’ll have control of the House and Senate, and he won’t be able to threaten to take away Social Security payments, withhold military pay, or shut down the national parks if he doesn’t get his way. We’ll have this fight on our terms, with clear majorities, and with the support of the American people. This is the best possible strategy to address the President’s amnesty order.
“By cutting spending on programs that don’t work, we can fully fund effective measures that will help families, small businesses, veterans and farmers in Florida’s heartland.”
Critical programs for Florida’s 17th district funded by the Omnibus include:
• Citrus Greening Disease Research: Includes Rooney’s request for additional funding for citrus greening disease research, providing $25 million in mandatory spending on the Citrus Disease Research Program and nearly $50 million for the Citrus Health Response Program.
• Ending the VA Backlog: Provides $2.5 billion for processing VA disability claims to end the backlog, institutes strict reporting requirement for VA centers, and requires VA to conduct spot audits of regional offices.
• Improving Rural Veterans’ Access to Care: Fully funds the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, a new contract care program for veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. Provides an additional $250 million for the Rural Health Initiative to ensure sufficient resources for veterans in rural areas.
• Florida Waters: Provides $2.1 million for the Okeechobee Waterway, $4.47 for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, $10 million for the Tampa Harbor, and $75 million for seepage control for the Herbert Hoover Dike.
• Support for Troops: Fully funds the troops’ pay raise authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act and includes $94 billion for new equipment and upgrades.
• Small Business Entrepreneurial Development: Funds Small Business Development Centers, State Trade and Export Promotion, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers.
• No Gitmo Transfers: Prohibits the transfer or release of Gitmo detainees into the U.S.
• Cutting Obamacare: Provides no new funding for Obamacare, prohibits funds for Obamacare Risk Corridors, requires HHS and Treasury to report to Congress on improper payments of Obamacare tax subsidies, and cuts the Independent Payment Advisory Board by $10 million.
• Honoring the Heroes of Fort Hood: Fully funds the awarding of Purple Hearts to the troops who were killed or injured in the terrorist attack on Fort Hood, an effort led by Rooney, who served at Fort Hood.
• Reining in EPA: Cuts the out-of-control EPA’s budget by $60 million, the fifth consecutive year of cuts, totaling a 21 percent reduction since FY10, and prohibits the regulation of farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
• Protecting Florida Farmers from Dodd-Frank: Amends Dodd-Frank swaps pushout requirement to protect farmers and other commodity producers.
• Holding IRS Accountable: Cuts IRS funding by $345.6 million, below FY08 levels; prohibits IRS targeting organization based on ideological beliefs; prohibits White House ordering review of tax-exempt status; blocks IRS funds for inappropriate videos and conferences.
• Local Control over School Lunches: Provides flexibility for local schools and districts for the Administration’s school lunch regulations.
• Combating Lupus: At the request of Rep. Rooney, who chairs the Congressional Lupus Caucus, includes $5.75 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry and $2 million to continue the national health education program on lupus.
• Mental Health Services for Troops, Veterans: Provides $8.9 million to improve mental health services for troops, military families and veterans, particularly those in rural areas.
• Traumatic Brain Injury Research and Prevention: Includes $6.54 million requested by Rep. Rooney, chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, for TBI research and prevention.