Congressman Sanford Bishop Votes to Reopen Government
Urges colleagues to support funding package bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) Chairman Designate of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, released the following statement after the Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a government funding package that would reopen the government and give much needed relief to the federal workers and all others who have been negatively affected by the administration’s continued decision to keep the government shutdown. This bill goes to the Senate, where it awaits further action.
“President Trump left a lump of coal in the stockings of thousands of federal workers this past holiday season by furloughing them, putting them at risk of losing their paychecks, and sowing uncertainty into their futures. I stood with the new democratic majority in the House to pass a spending bill that will reopen the federal government as its first order of business. It is our first and foremost duty to come together and govern responsibly for the American people and keep the government open and functioning,” said Bishop.
During the deliberation of the funding package, Congressman Bishop delivered the below remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
I thank the Gentlelady for yielding.
We are now in the 13th day of a partial government shutdown. Vital government services that the public relies on have slowed or stopped all together. Specifically, the US Department of Agriculture has stopped issuing loans for rural development and grants for housing and community facilities. New grant payments for agriculture research cannot be made. Across the nation, Farm Service Agency county offices closed on December 28. Furthermore, farmers applying for relief from retaliatory tariffs are in limbo waiting for the shutdown to end.
The bill before us today is a serious effort to end this needless shutdown and get the government back to work for the American people.
The Agriculture section is virtually identical to the legislation that the Senate passed last August by a vote of 92-6! This impressive bipartisan vote is the result of the Senate agreeing to work together constructively to develop their bills.
This bill is not perfect – no bill ever is. But again, this is a serious bill that would get the government working again for the American people. Not only are we in the middle of a needless shutdown, but we are already four months into Fiscal Year 2019. Federal agencies and departments deserve certainty and stability. As we begin a new Congress, I hope we can renew our commitment to responsibly fund the government.
This bill provides $3.8 billion for Rural Development. These much needed resources will help communities that face broadband, housing, water and wastewater, and healthcare challenges. The legislation provides an additional $425 million for rural broadband expansion, continuing our commitment to bridge the digital divide.
It responsibly funds the McGovern-Dole and Food for Peace programs that provide essential food to help keep children in school and help feed hungry people abroad.
It provides $2.73 billion in agricultural research, which is an increase of $114 million above the Fiscal Year 2018 enacted level. It funds the Farm Service Agency at $1.625 million. And it funds Natural Resources Conservation Service at $879.1 million.
The bill provides $73.2 billion in mandatory funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which will soon begin to run out of funding if action is not taken. Last year, SNAP helped more than 42 million people and it is widely considered an efficient and successful safety net that offers desperately needed support to those in need.
Finally, the Food and Drug Administration is funded at $2.97 billion and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is funded at the requested level of $281.5 million.
Farmers, ranchers, and producers go to work every morning. So should their government.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield back.