Congress Passes Inadequate Bills to Address National Security, Public Health Crisis

By Newsroom America Feeds at 20 May 2016


This week, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017. I found it deeply troubling that House Republicans played politics with the defense authorization bill by injecting controversial social issues into it at the expense of our men and women in uniform. In addition to discriminating against LGBT Americans and women, the bill also sets up a funding cliff where our troops in the field would run out of money halfway through the year. It also includes problematic provisions that prevent Guantanamo from being shut down. I was also outraged that House Republican leaders held a vote open during consideration of the MilCon/VA appropriations bill in order to force their Members to vote against an amendment banning LGBT discrimination. Those actions run contrary to the values of our nation.

House Republicans also passed an inadequate bill to combat the spread of the Zika virus. In February, President Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to prepare for and contain the spread of the Zika virus. Instead of responding quickly to the public health crisis, House Republicans waited three months to bring their proposal to the Floor, and it provides less than a third of the funding requested by President Obama. Unlike the bipartisan proposal that was advanced by the Senate this week, the House legislation has no path forward to the President’s desk. It’s time for House Republicans to take this emergency seriously and work with Democrats to advance bipartisan legislation that provides the necessary resources to address the crisis.

Finally, Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement this week on legislation to address Puerto Rico's debt crisis. The legislation allows for a restructuring process that will enable the Puerto Rican government to continue providing essential services while addressing the fiscal crisis. I join in thanking the Republican and Democratic leaders who worked tirelessly on this proposal, and I hope we can pass a bipartisan bill in advance of Puerto Rico’s next interest payment deadline.

Sincerely yours,

Steny H. Hoyer

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On the Zika Virus

FACT SHEET: House Republicans Fail to Respond to Zika Virus

Hoyer: Our Nation Faces a Real and Present Danger From Zika

On Equality for LGBT Americans

FACT SHEET: House Republicans Attempt to Roll Back LGBT Protections

Hoyer Statement on House Republicans' Vote to Discriminate Against LGBT Americans

Hoyer to LGBT Americans: We Are With You The Republican Empire Strikes Back to Allow Discrimination Against LGBT Americans

Hoyer: Partisan Defense Bill Discriminates, Plays Politics with War Funding

Hoyer Statement on House Republicans' Failure to Pass a Budget

Hoyer: I Join in Calling on Republicans to Disband the Select Committee on Benghazi

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