Rep. Peters Votes To Fund Defense Priorities, Opposes Irresponsible Debt Increase
Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass one of two government funding bills. The 12 appropriations bills, broken into two packages, will fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2020. Both bills now head to the Senate for passage before the bills go to President Trump for his signature.
“Today, we funded important priorities for San Diegans and Americans, particularly investments in our national defense and security, which will provide the support and stability our military needs and boost San Diego’s regional economy. The bills also invest in gun violence research, state election security, and environmental and energy programs. The legislation also approves the Export-Import Bank, my Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries (LAB) Act, and the SECURE Act,” said Rep. Peters. The SECURE Act enhances retirement savings for Americans, increasing automatic enrollment and portability of plans, and allows long-term part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.
Rep. Peters continued, “Unfortunately, the second funding bill could add nearly $500 billion to the federal debt over the next decade due to its tax provisions alone. Even though I support the policies these bills enact—especially repealing the medical device tax—I expect us to pay for those repeals. These taxes were intended to pay for much of the Affordable Care Act, and we must make an effort to find a reasonable revenue replacement.
“On top of that, Congress is retroactively extending tax credits that have already expired. These provisions are intended to incentivize future behavior, but this pattern of expire and extend does not foster reliability for businesses and instead undercuts investment. This is not the way to budget responsibly. I hope that my no vote on this funding bill makes clear my significant concerns about our nation’s fiscal health. The long-term consequences of high national debt include a detrimental drag to our economy, high interest, and slow wage growth. We have a responsibility to do better for future generations.”
Rep. Peters has advocated for serious review of deficit-spending, which will hamper long-term economic prosperity for short-term gain. He also voted against raising the budget caps in July, citing concerns about responding to national emergencies, and the consequences of fiscal irresponsibility for future generations.
The package includes language from Rep. Peters’ bill, the LAB Act, which ensures that seniors can continue to rely on life-saving lab treatments. The provision ensures that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have ample and broad data to make reimbursement decisions. Without a broad and representative collection of data, CMS's current reimbursement methodology could underpay for lab services, causing small labs in rural locations to close.
Below are some of the programs and activities that Congress funded today:
- Environment and energy
- $25 million for Border Water Infrastructure Program. Projects that seek to abate a mixture of stormwater runoff and raw sewage are eligible
- $45 million for NOAA’s Sustained Ocean Observations and Monitoring Program, which provides essential data for effective weather forecasts, natural disaster mitigation and preparing, assessment and planning for climate change
- $2.7 billion for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program, which funds innovation projects in agency priorities like cybersecurity, the energy grid and storage, and water security
- $425 million for ARPA-e
- $40 million for algae research and development at the Department of Energy
- $21 million for carbon capture, and other technologies to eliminate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
- $5.5 billion for Wildland Fire Management, including $2.25 billion in cap adjusted fire suppression funding.
- $495 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- $599 million for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which funds research in San Diego, particularly through important U.S. Navy partnerships
- Defense and international affairs
- $292 million for San Diego military construction, including projects at Camp Pendleton, the Navy hangar at Coronado, and the Pier 8 replacement
- 3.1 percent pay raise for servicemembers
- $23.9 billion for shipbuilding
- $1.3 billion for military housing and an extra $140.8 million for administrative positions to administer fixes to military housing issues
- Reauthorizes Export-Import Bank
- $1.8 billion for VA homelessness assistance programs
- $3.1 billion for reducing backlogged disability claims and additional funds to process Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans claims
- $40 million for new Veterans Affairs-Supportive Housing Vouchers
- $25 million for gun violence prevention research through the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, the first time it has been funded in 20 years
- $286 million for Title X, which provides grants for comprehensive family planning and preventative health services
- $230 million to prevent youth tobacco use
- Affordable Care Act stabilization measures including prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from ending auto-enrollment
- Children, community, and education
- $502.5 million for Violence Against Women Act
- $180 million to process DNA backlog of sexual assault kits
- $96 billion for SNAP, WIC, and school meal programs
- $150 increase to the maximum Pell award, making the total amount $6,345
- $887 million for state and local police grants
- $2.8 billion for homeless assistance grants
- Transportation and infrastructure
- $1.97 billion for Capital Investment Grants, which fund projects like the Mid-Coast Trolley
- Good government and homeland security
- $425 million for new election security grants
- 3.1 percent pay raise for federal civilian employees in calendar year 2020
- $13 million for 300 Border Patrol processing coordinators
- $173 million for humanitarian care for CBP custody
- $222 million for border security technology, the right alternative to a wall