Video: Capito Urges Senate to Pass Appropriations Bills
“None of us were sent here to pass short-term continuing resolutions and allow the government to essentially operate on auto pilot. Let’s do our job.” - Senator Capito
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Legislative Branch Subcommittee, spoke on the Senate floor today about the need to pass critical spending bills such as the National Defense Authorization Act conference report, which passed the Senate on Wednesday, and the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which the Senate is considering now.
Video of Senator Capito’s speech and the remarks as prepared for delivery are included below.
Click here or the image above for video of Senator Capito’s speech.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. President –
“Yesterday the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to pass the National Defense Authorization Act conference report. This important legislation authorizes vital resources for our nation’s troops, our wounded warriors and their families.
“This NDAA provides for our national security needs and will meet our commitments to our allies.
“The defense funding bill also includes programs that will directly benefit the West Virginia National Guard, including our partnership program with Peru, and the Drug Interdiction and Counter Drug program to fight the wave of prescription drug overdoses in our state.
“The bill boosts funding for STARBASE – I visited a STARBASE just recently - an innovative program that provides hands on learning opportunities for students in science, technology, and mathematics and helps spur their interest in STEM fields.
“On Monday, I visited the 167th Air Lift Wing in Martinsburg. I enjoyed the opportunity to personally meet and thank our service members and learn about the challenges they face.
“These brave men and women deserve our unified support and should not be subject to the gridlock that’s been oh so common here in Washington.
“Unbelievably to me though, the President has threatened to veto this bipartisan legislation, even though it authorizes the same amount of spending for national defense that he asked for in his budget submission.
“Just recently, the administration authorized tens of billions of dollars for Iran through sanctions relief, including money that will be used admittedly to further destabilize the Middle East.
“Now the president is threatening to veto funding authorization for our own troops?
“We face great and growing threats to our national security.
“ISIS continues to advance.
“Syria’s ongoing civil war has led to a refugee crisis in Europe.
“Russia is increasing its influence in the Middle East.
“And Iran will gain strength due to sanctions relief granted in the nuclear agreement.
“It would be a mistake for the president to veto this funding for our national defense.
“As the Washington Post editorialized this weekend, ‘American presidents rarely veto national defense authorization bills, since they are, well, vital to national security.’
“The editorial continued, ‘Refusing to sign this bill would make history, but not in a good way.’
“This is not the legacy the president wants to leave behind.
“He should reconsider his position and follow the lead of the 70 Senators, including 21 Democrats, who voted yesterday to put our national security before politics.
“The Senate is now considering another bipartisan bill that has important implications for our national security.
“The Energy and Water Appropriations bill funds programs that help us use our energy resources in the most efficient way possible.
“I serve on the Appropriations Committee. I saw the bipartisan work that occurred between the chair and the ranking member.
“Continued innovation in our energy resources, whether it be coal, natural gas or oil, is absolutely a strategic asset to our national energy independence.
“The benefit of innovation in our energy sector is reflected in the vast reserves of shale gas that are now being produced in West Virginia and elsewhere across the country.
“It was less than a decade ago that many of us were concerned that the United States would face a shortage of natural gas.
“Today, natural gas production is surging.
“In West Virginia alone, production has increased by more than 500 percent over the past decade. It’s exciting to watch – an energy economy is a job economy.
“Not only does shale gas help us meet our own domestic energy needs, we also have the opportunity to expand LNG exports – creating more jobs here at home while helping to meet the energy and security needs of our allies in Europe and Japan.
“Innovation and investment in clean coal technologies, not across the board regulation, should be our focus.
“The Energy and Water Appropriations bill includes $610 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development. This is a necessary investment in entities like the National Energy and Technology Laboratory in Morgantown so that they can use these dollars to develop technologies that make coal, oil and natural gas production cleaner and more efficient.
“I strongly disagree with EPA regulations that require the use of technology that is not commercially available – that’s what we see in these regulations – increase the cost of energy and decrease the reliability of our electricity grid.
“The best way to provide that energy and improve our environment is to invest in the technologies that will help us use our coal reserves in the most efficient way possible.
“This bill also provides important funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“West Virginia is the only state that is completely within the boundaries of the commission, and the ARC plays an important role in helping West Virginians meet our economic challenges.
“The funding found in this bill can help ARC promote rural broadband – something I’ve talked a lot about on the floor here in the Senate – expand rural health care services and offer opportunity to our state’s workers.
“Investments made in the Army Corps of Engineers through this bill will help provide the infrastructure we need to move American products to markets across the country and around the world.
“This Energy and Water Appropriation bill impacts every American. It was carefully crafted, robustly debated in committee, and passed the full Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support.
“Mr. President and my fellow members of the Senate, the Appropriations Committee did its part, passing all 12 government funding bills for the first time since 2009. Nine of these bills had bipartisan support.
“So far, Democrats have twice blocked debate on the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. Last week, Democrats blocked debate on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.
“That obstruction is the reason why our government is operating on a continuing resolution.
“Let’s get the bills on the floor, debate them, make changes and vote again. That is what we are supposed to be doing.
“None of us were sent here to pass short-term continuing resolutions and allow the government to essentially operate on auto pilot. Let’s do our job.
“We are here to advocate for our state and national priorities, and this Energy and Water bill reflects those priorities.
“The full Senate should have an opportunity to debate this bill, offer amendments to improve it, and pass a bill that will lead to energy security and improve our infrastructure.
“By contrast, voting to filibuster this and other appropriations bills will make the threat of a government shutdown more likely.
“Americans deserve a government that makes wise and strategic investments to best meet their needs.
“Endless continuing resolutions are not the most effective ways to meet these needs, and can prove wasteful in both dollars and time.
“I ask my colleagues to allow debate on this important legislation to move forward and to support investments in our energy and infrastructure priorities.
“I yield the floor.”
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