Rep. Peters’ Statement on Omnibus Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after the passage of the omnibus appropriations bill that provides funding for the rest of Fiscal Year 2014. Congressman Peters supported the bill and it passed the House 359-67.
“Before coming to Congress I advocated for No Budget, No Pay – the idea that if Congress doesn’t do its job then it shouldn’t get paid,” Peters said. “In December, for the first time in more than three years, Congress passed a budget that provides the framework of federal spending for the next two years; today the House is doing its duty and funding the government. Finally, the government will fund its activities not by short term continuations but through an actual, negotiated solution. A clear picture of where federal expenditures are expected to be for two years provides stability and allows the economy to grow and add much needed jobs here at home. It is gratifying that I and my colleagues, many of whom are freshmen, could help push Congress toward working instead of political game playing.
“There are a lot of positive items in this package for San Diego. One of my personal infrastructure priorities for this Congress was to secure funding for San Ysidro’s Port of Entry projects, including the addition of more lanes to ease wait times and reduce inefficiency at the crossing, while creating jobs and economic activity in our region. As a member of San Diego’s Smart Border Coalition, funding this project has long been a goal. I am proud to say that, after a team effort from the entire San Diego delegation, there are $226 million in today’s package for San Ysidro that will fund Phase III of the project. This is a big win for San Diego’s economy.
“In addition to San Ysidro funding, this package also provides money to expand the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program and support the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that will help keep our country internationally competitive by funding infrastructure projects at ports across the country. There are also funds set aside for fighting wildfires and prevention programs that will benefit California and other states that have suffered from increasingly extreme fires in past years.
“However, like any legislation, this package is not perfect and does not include everything I wanted to see. While it does provide a partial fix in the cuts to Veterans’ cost-of-living adjustments that were part of the budget deal in December, through the exemption of Chapter 61 retirees and disabled veterans, it does not completely end that cut. I will continue to advocate for the full fix.
“This bill also does not adequately fund our country’s basic scientific research programs through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While I am pleased that there are not draconian cuts to NIH like we saw under the sequester, this is a time to be investing in the research and innovation that will lead to life and cost saving discoveries here in America.
“I will continue to advocate for San Diego’s priorities and am hopeful that, by passing this funding package, Congress can get back to regular order so that the economy can grow instead of being consistently hampered by the crisis-to-crisis governance that has marred the institution in recent years.”