Congress Continues Government Funding into December
Last week, the House and Senate passed identical pieces of legislation to extend government funding at current levels through December 9. The short-term Continuing Resolution, or CR, keeps the federal government open for the new fiscal year, which began on October 1, while giving Congress additional time to make federal funding decisions.
I certainly support keeping the government running, but I also have to stay true to the conservative values of the people of the 19th District. While this government funding extension is now law, I could not vote for it. I believe this legislation kicks the can down the road, without solving any of the problems confronting our nation, and I could not support pushing Congress’ job even further down the line.
I also had some concerns with additional funding included in the CR to combat the spread of the Zika virus and to provide flood relief in Louisiana and other states affected by natural disasters. Some of the money allocated to fight the Zika virus has the potential to create a new funding stream for Planned Parenthood in affected states. Planned Parenthood has not been a good steward of your tax dollars, and I believe public health funds should be directed through other health care providers.
When Congress returns in November, we have significant unfinished business to address, including finding a way to responsibly fund the federal government for the full fiscal year. I will advocate for Congress to complete its responsibilities in the open and transparent manner the taxpayers deserve.
Financial Services Hearings
Last week was busy at the Capitol. Aside from working to continue funding the government, one of the Committees I am a member of, the House Committee on Financial Services, held three hearings.
First, the Subcommittee I chair, Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, held a hearing to examine legislation specifically geared toward increasing consumer access to banking services. Too many Americans are underbanked, meaning they have access to little or no banking services. This directly affects the daily lives of many individual Americans, and also makes it much harder to support a family.
Last Tuesday, the full Financial Services Committee questioned Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on the supervision and regulation of the overall financial system. I expressed to Chair Yellen my disappointment that the role of Vice-Chair of Supervision remains empty, despite being established six years ago. This position is important since it creates a point person to hold directly accountable for the Federal Reserve’s role in the supervision of our banks.
Last, but certainly not least, the full Committee questioned Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf about the opening of around two million fraudulent accounts. Specifically, I questioned Mr. Stumpf on his dual roles of CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wells Fargo, asking him if some level of oversight was missing or if those two roles might ever conflict. I believe further investigation into the actions of Wells Fargo and the regulators charged with overseeing the bank is warranted.
40th Anniversary of the Hyde Amendment
Friday of last week marked the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment. Named after Congressman Henry Hyde, who first introduced it, Congress has included this amendment in every piece of relevant funding legislation passed since 1976. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal tax dollars from being used to fund abortion. The Hyde Amendment is estimated to have saved at least two million lives since it was first enacted. Approximately two-thirds of Americans agree that tax dollars should not fund abortions, showing strong support for continuing this policy. I have and will continue to fight to make sure the Hyde Amendment is included in funding legislation and will work toward making it permanent law.