Rep. Huffman Votes for Bipartisan Budget Deal to Fund Wildfire & Fishery Disaster Relief; Demands that Speaker Ryan Keep Promise and Allow DACA Vote
Washington, D.C.- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted for the bipartisan budget deal, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives today, to fund the government through March, lay a foundation for long-term fiscal stability through 2019, and deliver on several overdue priorities for the North Coast and the country. This agreement provides $89 billion in additional funding to address natural disasters including our local wildfire disaster needs, $200 million in long overdue fishery disaster relief, while extending the Children’s Health Insurance program through the next decade, providing funding for our local community health centers, and securing funding to fight the opioid crisis.
While Rep. Huffman had previously voted against each of the four short-term spending bills proposed by the Republican majority, he supported today’s legislation because of the long-term certainty it provides for government services and programs, and the urgently needed funding for critical local priorities. Unlike the previous continuing resolutions, this deal finally provides long-term funding for domestic priorities such as public health and infrastructure, and also resolves the debt ceiling until March 2019.
After his vote, Rep. Huffman released the following statement:
“After five months of chaos, stubborn partisanship, and gimmicky continuing resolutions, the Republican majority finally negotiated a bipartisan deal to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year and avoid a financial crisis by raising the debt ceiling. We finally have supplemental disaster funding for families in my district that are reeling from last year’s wildfires. We finally have stability and long-term funding for children’s health insurance, community clinics, and opioid addiction. And after two years, we finally have fishery disaster funding for the communities and tribes in my district who have been devastated by fishery closures.
The process of postponing tough decisions and funding the government for a few weeks at a time has been disgraceful, and while this budget deal helps meet many critical needs in my district, it is still deeply flawed. Funding for our social safety net and investments in critical domestic priorities should not be held hostage to reckless, unnecessary defense spending. As we saw in the Bush years, cutting taxes for the rich while massively increasing defense spending is a recipe for fiscal disaster, and yet the erstwhile “deficit hawks” in the Republican Party are oblivious to these consequences now that they have control of all branches of government.
For the 800,000 Dreamers at risk of deportation because of President Trump’s cruel termination of the DACA program, I’m especially disappointed that Speaker Paul Ryan, despite his frequent words of support for Dreamers, has still not made a firm and specific commitment to allow a vote that will protect them. I know that some believe House Democrats should have continued to withhold our votes for government funding to force Speaker Ryan’s hand on this issue. That was part of the basis for my “no” votes on the previous continuing resolutions, and candidly, I would have continued voting “no” if there was any chance of leveraging a better outcome today. The question at 5:30am this morning, after the Senate’s overwhelming bipartisan vote and as the “yes” votes rolled past 218 on the House floor, was whether there was any leverage left in this vote. There was not.
While this budget deal was not the vehicle to leverage a DACA solution, I want to make it very clear that we are not giving up on protecting the Dreamers and other immigrants. That fight goes on, and with the DACA deadline growing near it will only intensify. We must hold Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to their promises of allowing votes in both houses of Congress. We must challenge Speaker Ryan to match his compassionate rhetoric with something that actually helps Dreamers -- action. In the days ahead, we must maximize public pressure and demand that Republican leadership finally allow bipartisan solutions to advance through Congress.”