U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both of Kansas, released statements today regarding the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill which was approved by the Senate with a vote of 72-26.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts:
“Kansas families have to live within a budget,” Roberts said. “As taxpayers, they expect the federal government to do the same. Unfortunately, the $1.11 trillion bill to fund the government’s discretionary spending busted the budget caps we set just a few years ago. We keep talking about the need for fiscal discipline, but Congress and the President just cannot seem to get it done.
“We should have passed a budget that respected the caps so we could get our country further down the path of debt relief. Because this bill busted the budget and lumped massive spending in more than 1500 pages of federal spending and projects, I voted against the bill, despite the fact it included some very important measures that I personally have labored on for years. For example, the bill included money for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan. This lab is a national security priority. It will greatly augment the work already done at the biosecurity lab I helped bring to the K-State campus when I first began the effort to make Kansas a leader in food security. I fought for Manhattan to win the multi-state NBAF competition on the merits and have worked tirelessly every step of the way to make NBAF a reality for Kansas. I wish the project had moved in regular order through the vetting of a true appropriations process, but that no longer seems to exist in Congress. That process would have allowed Congress to prioritize spending, and I am confident NBAF would have been at the top of the list.
“It gives me no pleasure to vote against a bill that includes an important project into which I have put my heart and soul and many hours of work.
“But that vote was necessary to send a signal we can no longer afford unchecked spending as usual.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran:
“Today, Congress passed a bill that attempts to set funding priorities based on more responsible oversight of government programs. While I oppose the unreasonably high topline spending level mandated by the Ryan-Murray budget deal, it is important to make certain the funds authorized by the budget agreement are spent wisely rather than continuing to throw taxpayer dollars at outdated priorities and unsuccessful programs. “With the passage of the Omnibus, it is clear that Washington shares many priorities with Kansas including the construction of NBAF, basing of the KC-46A tanker at McConnell Air Force Base, and restoring funding for military retirement benefits of medically retired veterans and survivor annuities. The Omnibus also denies new funding to the federal Exchange and other Obamacare programs while eliminating HHS Secretary Sebelius’ $1 billion slush fund. It also increases funding for the HHS Inspector General to perform oversight of HHS’ Obamacare activities. Finally, the Omnibus makes certain no funds – none – may be spent to implement the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty until it’s ratified by the United States Senate, which stands in strong opposition to the treaty.
“After years of no budget and no appropriations process, it was critical to now prioritize spending, provide greater congressional oversight, and examine whether taxpayer dollars are being used as efficiently and effectively as possible.”