As prepared for delivery:
Good afternoon. When the American people put gavels in the hands of House Republicans, it came with the promise of changing the status quo.
Unrivaled to that mandate is the need to amend the way Washington handles America’s balance sheet. No one in this room can deny our budget and appropriations process is broken. The reality is clear: we have not seen regular order for decades, and the dysfunction of the process has been consistently felt by Congress and the nation. While the Senate certainly has a worse track record than the House – I think we can all agree that the American people deserve better.
As both an appropriator and a member, I feel strongly that this past doesn’t have to dictate our future. The “power of the purse” is one of our greatest responsibilities. We can’t let this duty continue to be usurped by omnibus bills or legislation written behind closed doors that number thousands of pages without the time to review or amend it before a vote.
Today’s hearing builds on the work we’ve done to demand change and move forward single-subject appropriations bills. With H.R. 5894, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, we continue to make the hard choices to put our nation on a better path forward.
The bill directs valuable taxpayer dollars where they can best impact constituents. It prioritizes research for novel medicines that can save and transform lives. It invests in the well-being and education of the most precious among us: our nation’s children. And it supports telehealth in our rural communities, the sanctity of life, and America’s fight against addiction.
I’m confident we’ll hear more on these important priorities from our witnesses today.
I’ll note, it’s not the only task ahead of us. I made clear our fiscal challenges above. We have made significant progress on our twelve appropriations bills thus far, but the job is not yet done. As we scrutinize every expenditure, our country faces an expiration of federal funding on November 17th. It’s clear—no matter the strides that have been made to change the way we do business—additional time is needed to complete our work for fiscal 2024.
It's why the House will take up the Further Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act, which extends Federal funding for four appropriations titles through January 19, 2024, and the remaining eight titles through February 2, 2024. Extending funding in this way will give the House and Senate additional time and incentive to negotiate full-year spending bills for each title individually, rather than one massive take-it-or-leave-it omnibus bill right before the holidays.
Extending the previous fiscal year’s funding is never an ideal way to govern, but the alternative is even worse. We owe it to our constituents to keep the government open and operating to continue to provide them with the services they need and deserve. This bill will accomplish that goal and will ensure that Congress has sufficient time to reach agreement on final appropriations bills covering the rest of fiscal 2024.