Rep. Capuano (D-MA) wrote on January 26, 2018:
On Monday the House and Senate passed a fourth short-term spending bill to reopen the federal government, this time through Thursday February 8th. While round 4 of the budget battle is over – round 5 has already begun.
Some believe that Democrats fought this budget battle over one issue – the Dreamers. That is not an accurate belief. Certainly the future of 800,000 children who are here undocumented through no fault of their own is critically important and deserves our attention. Their lives were thrown into turmoil a few months ago when President Trump unilaterally decided to end a program that provided them some hope and opportunity.
This budget battle was about more than that issue. We still do not know what the budget caps are for defense and non-defense programs. The majority party wants to massively increase defense spending while simultaneously reducing funding for housing, education, research, health care, and so on. I support a strong defense, but I also support many other programs that deserve comparable attention.
Worse, we have no idea if this will be the LAST “temporary” funding bill. The federal fiscal year ended September 30th – FOUR MONTHS AGO!! Since then, no federal program (including defense) has been able to make any plans extending beyond a few weeks’ time. That is bad for our country in many ways and underscores a complete inability of a party which holds the White House and both branches of Congress, to govern responsibly.
The latest Continuing Resolution (CR) provides funding for Children’s Health – but it does nothing to address our concerns about Community Health Centers, student loans, worker pension plans, the opioid crisis, and so much more. Without the leverage of the budget, I fear there may not be another chance to consider these other pressing matters. Remember, in the House, the majority party has absolute control over which bills come to the floor, what is in those bills and what amendments are allowed.
Of course, with Trump in charge, Democrats have reason to be concerned about “promises” to address any issues in the future. In very public ways on many issues, Trump and his Congressional supporters have been caught in so many lies it undermines any trust between us.
I voted NO on this CR. America deserves better and I believe a strong commitment to our values is the best course to ensure our goals are fairly addressed. Both Massachusetts Senators also voted NO on the CR.
The CR passed 266-150. Six Republicans voted against it and 45 Democrats voted in favor. Tom Reed, as expected, voted AYE.