Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) released the following statement on his vote for the combined appropriations bills known as the “omnibus:”
“I hope the passage of today’s bill will put an end to the era of governing by crisis by providing funding for vital programs through the end of September 2016. It’s not perfect, but it represents a good faith negotiating effort by both parties. I supported the bill because I believe we need to keep government open and operating for Americans, even if thoughtful compromise is necessary to achieve that goal.
“Democrats kept harmful provisions such as a funding cut for Planned Parenthood, dismantling clean energy efforts and further weakening campaign finance rules out of the final bill. Provisions like this have no place in law, let alone attached to a spending bill, and I’m glad that the Republicans didn’t attempt to ram them through against the will of the American people.
“Some beneficial policy pieces made it into the final product, too. A cybersecurity bill that has been in the works a long time was included in the final text and will enhance Americans‘ safety in part by encouraging more cooperation between the private and public sector. I was personally involved in crafting this bill over a period of many months and it is an important step forward in securing our nation against cyber and other threats.
“We also secured funding for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides permanent health benefits for firefighters, police officers and other rescuers who became sick because of toxic exposure at the site of the 2001 World Trade Center attack. Congress also took the sensible step of reauthorizing tax credits for wind and solar energy, a short-term way to help them develop and meet our nation’s energy needs.
“There are also funds to provide for our veterans, infrastructure and national defense as well as to pay the federal employees who process Social Security checks and keep Medicare and Medicaid open and operating. Other highlights include:
· $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, including more than $11 million to support access to preschool for low-income families in Bridgeport.
· $500 million for Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, the program that is partially funding the planning of the new Bridgeport rail station.
· $9.2 billion for Head Start, a $570 million increase from 2015.
· $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which represents a $2 billion increase.
· $50 million increase for the HOME program from 2015.
· Full funding for Section 4, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Project-Based Rental Assistance.
· $2.1 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs, which is $136 million more than last year’s enacted amount.
· $2.7 billion for WIOA Job Training Formula Grant program, an $86 million increase.
· $480 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution programs, which is $50 million more than the FY 2015 level.”