Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) today voted for a U.S. Senate-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) that will prevent a March 27 government shutdown. The measure will fund the government through September 30, 2013. Bonamici expressed disappointment that the bill failed to stop across-the-board sequestration spending cuts initiated by 2011 Budget Control Act.
"This legislation is far from perfect, but it allows us to avert a government shutdown that would have exacerbated the problems created by sequestration," said Bonamici. "I am disappointed that we were unable to agree on a Continuing Resolution that would repeal these reckless across-the-board cuts, but the need to reach agreement across the aisle and between the House and Senate was essential to avoiding additional economic harm to Oregonians. I am going to continue working to end the sequester."
The bill as amended by the Senate includes five full-year 2013 Appropriations bills: Defense; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Homeland Security. It provides continuing appropriations for the rest of the government at fiscal year 2012 levels, with some modifications requested by the Administration to help address current needs.
The Senate CR makes several improvements to the House version Bonamici voted against on March 6. It gives a number of important government programs, such as food security programs, flexibility to continue providing services to those in need. The Senate CR also provided small funding increases for Head Start; Child Care and Development Block Grants; embassy security; supplemental nutrition for women, infants, and children (WIC); state and local law enforcement grants; the COPS program; and, scientific research through NIH and NSF. The bill also ensures that six communities in Northwest Oregon remain eligible to participate in the USDA's rural housing programs, and it increases funding for legal aid by $37 million over the amount provided in the last full Commerce Justice and Science appropriations bill considered by the House.
Bonamici was also disappointed that the Senate CR failed to provide additional funding needed to implement the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. She also cited cuts to environmental protection, rural rental assistance, food safety and inspection, NASA, federal law enforcement including the FBI, NOAA weather satellites, Army Corps of Engineers construction projects, and fighting wildland fire as significant problems with the bill.