Wasserman Schultz Statement on Omnibus Legislation
In 23 years as a legislator I've never seen a perfect bill, but progress sometimes requires compromise. In an era of divided government, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Despite deep reservations about certain provisions of the Omnibus bill, I ultimately voted to support it because of funding for key Democratic priorities such as permanent health care treatment for 9/11 first responders and survivors and clean energy investments, while preserving the Affordable Care Act and maintaining support for Planned Parenthood.
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement today after the House voted on H.R. 2029, the “Omnibus” legislation to fund the Federal government through September 2016:
“In 23 years as a legislator I’ve never seen a perfect bill, but progress sometimes requires compromise. In an era of divided government, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
“Despite deep reservations about certain provisions of the Omnibus bill, I ultimately voted to support it because of funding for key Democratic priorities such as permanent health care treatment for 9/11 first responders and survivors and clean energy investments, while preserving the Affordable Care Act and maintaining support for Planned Parenthood.
“The Omnibus also funds several of my legislative priorities, including $2.5 million for the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act to help rape victims terminate the parental rights of their rapists, and $1 million for the HERO program which trains our veterans to combat online child sexual exploitation. Importantly, the bill also provides for a two-year moratorium on new breast cancer screening recommendations to allow time for proper research, which I fought for with my Republican colleague, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, and includes language directing the Veterans Administration to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to create a pipeline for veteran medics to become physician assistants.
“Nevertheless, I have strong concerns over this bill’s lack of support for Puerto Rico and it’s lifting of our 40-year ban on exporting crude oil.
“For months, Puerto Rico has faced a deep fiscal crisis impacting millions of families while Congress has failed to act. There are some good provisions supporting Puerto Rico, including better Medicare reimbursement rates and allowing the Treasury Department to provide technical assistance, but this bill simply does not go far enough. We cannot treat Puerto Ricans like second-class citizens and refuse them the right to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy like our states can. Taxpayers would not be responsible for this decision and Puerto Rico deserves the same financial choices as our states.
“Largely because of the crisis, Puerto Ricans are migrating to the mainland in unprecedented numbers. We always welcome our neighbors seeking a better way of life but as legislators we must also meaningfully address the crises driving this influx. We have a moral obligation to help Puerto Rico, and this bill fails to do so. I refuse to turn my back on the tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans in my district, and the thousands more coming to Florida every day. I am encouraged Speaker Ryan has promised to take up restructuring legislation by March 31st, and I am hopeful we will have the opportunity to vote on and pass such a bill shortly.
“Additionally, lifting the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil is a giant step backwards for promoting clean and sustainable energy sourcing, particularly for coastal states like Florida. Our shores are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change, and I cannot cast a vote that would potentially open our waters to more drilling and that would put more oil in the global market. In fact I joined many of my colleagues in voting only months ago to continue the ban.
“With spending levels for the next fiscal year already set, I am hopeful we can avoid these tiring, unnecessary political games, keep the government funded and running, and get on with the people’s business.”
Sean Bartlett, Sean.Bartlett@mail.house.gov, 202.225.7931
Geoff Burgan, Geoff.Burgan@mail.house.gov, 202.225.7931
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