Garamendi Votes for Government Funding Bill Compromise
America Still Needs a Comprehensive Jobs Plan, Garamendi Says
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) voted for legislation that would fund the government until September 30th, 2014. This appropriations bill for the 2014 Fiscal Year (FY) was formed from the Ryan-Murray Bipartisan Budget Agreement that rolls back some of the job-destroying sequestration budget cuts. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 359-67.
“Though flawed, this government appropriations bill increases critical investments in education, infrastructure, and defense, expanding opportunities for my constituents to secure a new job or keep the one they have,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “By keeping the government open through the end of the Fiscal Year, it also gives businesses and dedicated defense and civilian government workers the certainty they need.”
Military and Veterans Issues
The FY 2014 Appropriations Bill:
· Contains provisions to help the Veterans Administration meet its goal of ending its disability compensation claims backlog by 2015, including information technology upgrades, additional funds for training and staff overtime, and increased funding for the Board of Appeals.
· Provides for a 1% pay increase for military and civilian wage grade personnel.
· Prevents cuts to the cost of living adjustments (COLA) for disabled retirees and surviving spouses of deceased retired servicemembers.
· Requires that the Air Force continue to use funds previously appropriated on the Global Hawk procurement. None of the funds may be used to retire, divest, realign, or transfer Global Hawk Block 30 or to deactivate or convert units associated with the Global Hawk Block 30.
· Funds the full $62 million requested for the construction of the Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS) Operations Building for Beale Air Force Base, specifically supporting the 50th Intelligence Squadron whose mission entails global networked intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Garamendi said, “This agreement will likely prevent our servicemembers, civilian employees, and veterans from suffering the reprehensible indignities of furloughs, pay cuts, and endless waits to receive the benefits they’ve earned. That being said, this bill falls far too short of our obligation to those who served our nation. In particular, I have called for restoration of the standard COLA for all military retirees.”
Congressman Garamendi, a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, is a cosponsor of the Military Retirement Restoration Act, legislation that would repeal cuts to military retiree cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). This legislation would be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes for offshore corporations.
The Appropriations Bill delays some premium increases in the National Flood Insurance Program.
“This is a first but incomplete step toward solving the flood insurance rate hike problem for the Sacramento Valley and Delta,” said Congressman Garamendi, a Member of the House Agriculture Committee. “We are continuing to work on the issue with House and Senate legislation in the works, specifically H.R. 3370 and S. 1846. Farmers and homeowners in my district are counting on us getting this done, and I will do everything I can to get flood insurance reform across the finish line.”
Infrastructure and Environment Projects
The FY 2014 Appropriations Bill:
· Eliminates the ban on “no new starts” for Army Corps of Engineers, which had held back funding for desperately needed levee and river projects in the 3rd District.
· Provides $2 million to stop the spread of Quagga and Zebra mussels, which pose an economic and ecological threat to Clear Lake
· Reauthorizes and appropriates $37 million for the CALFED Bay Delta Program.
· Permits the Secretary of the Interior to provide grants to or enter into cooperative agreements with local joint powers authorities.
“When a levee fails or when a local economy is knocked back from an invasive species, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. This bill recognizes that infrastructure projects are crucial to protecting human life and strengthening our economy. However, we still have far more transportation projects to do and people ready to do it. I continue to support more robust investments in job-creating American-made infrastructure,” said Garamendi, a Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The FY 2014 Appropriations Bill:
- Increases funding for Agriculture Research and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – funding vital to the continue agriculture research taking place at Universities.
- Continues support for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, under which UC Davis participates in a consortium to reduce the rate of animal residue violations.
- Increases funding for the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
“Farmers and farm workers in the 3rd District produce $3 billion in agricultural products, helping to feed the world. This bill helps provide them with the tools they need,” said Garamendi.
Education, Research, Housing, and Public Safety
The FYI 2014 Appropriations Bill:
· Dedicates $1.3 billion for Impact Aid education programs, which is $65 million above FY 2013 enacted levels. This money funds local school districts impacted by Federal property, including military bases and tribal lands.
· Funds $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which is $714 million less than the 2013 enacted level but $1 billion more than the post-sequester level. The National Institutes of Health is the largest grantor for research at UC Davis.
· Provides $1.1 billion for USDA Rental Assistance Program, which is $227 million more than the 2013 enacted level. Mahal Plaza in Yuba City, which offers affordable housing for hundreds of farm workers, uses this program as their primary funding source.
· Funds $417 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs, which is $9.1 million more than the 2013 enacted levels.
“This bill continues to shortchange investments in the ingenuity of the American people, but it avoids additional cuts that would hold back our economy and our communities,” said Garamendi.
“Congress hasn’t considered a comprehensive jobs plan since 2009. Today’s omnibus bill doesn’t even meet our bare minimum obligations to Americans struggling to find a job, but at least it prevents even further harm,” added Garamendi. “With so many Americans losing their grasp at the American Dream, I will continue to push this Congress toward more investments in education, research, infrastructure, and manufacturing, so that we can Make It In America once again.”