Compromise in Congress
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed legislation by bipartisan votes to fund the government through September 30, 2014. This is a hopeful sign because it represents a break from the recent past of a dysfunctional Congress, lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. As you know all too well, the rampant dysfunction culminated in a 16-day government shutdown in October of last year, taking an estimated $24 billion out of the U.S. economy.
This legislation sets our country on a fiscally responsible path forward. While I don’t agree with every aspect of the bill, I voted for it because it’s the responsibility of Congress to fund the government within the parameters of our budget. The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.
The bipartisan legislation eliminates most of the harmful sequester cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year and boosts spending in critical sectors of our economy, including scientific research and renewable energy. The funding measure also carries forward the implementation of health care reform and restores the 57,000 slots in Head Start that were eliminated by sequestration. A complete summary of the funding measures in the bill can be found here.
I did everything I could to get the extension of emergency unemployment benefits, which expired late last year, included in this government funding bill, but the Republican majority in the House blocked the effort. Millions of families, including thousands in our congressional district, rely on unemployment insurance when they are laid off or are in between jobs. This is shortsighted policy, and, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, 200,000 more jobs will be lost if unemployment insurance is not extended.
Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive power and responsibility to fund the government and, in the process, set priorities for our country. For three years Congress has abdicated this responsibility by simply passing continuing resolutions to keep the government open at outdated funding levels. Today, I’m proud to report that I voted for what I hope is the beginning of a sensible chapter in Congressional conduct, and hopefully the end of congressional dysfunction.
Should you have any questions or comments, let me hear from you.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress