WASHINGTON, D.C. — Early Thursday, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) voted to pass H.R. 2471, a comprehensive government funding package including humanitarian support for Ukraine.
“Funding our nation’s key agencies is a matter of national security,” said Houlahan. “Especially in the face of Putin’s war against Ukraine and rising costs for Pennsylvanians, ensuring we help working families protect their paycheck and give our military the tools to respond to ongoing and emerging threats around the globe could not be more imperative. While I will always praise both sides when we reach bipartisan consensus, I continue to be incredibly frustrated by how little transparency there was, and how late – the fiscal year is already half over – this is.”
“Transparent governance needs to be a cornerstone of Congress’ legislative process,” added Houlahan. “Even though the final vote was broadly bipartisan, releasing the text of a nearly 3,000-page document mere hours before members are expected to vote on it is unacceptable. On this, I agree with many of my colleagues on both sides of aisle. But the alternative—yet another continuing resolution—was simply not an option.”
“While I strongly disagree with the timeline and manner by which the House finally passed the federal budget, I don’t want to detract from all the important lifesaving and cost-reducing measures in this legislation. This budget reflects our values by centering on working families. Among other Pennsylvania priorities, this bill will fund rural development and broadband, expand child care program accessibility, support high-quality job training and apprenticeship programs, strengthen nutrition assistance for our most vulnerable, bolster the VA’s health care system, and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”
Additionally, the funding package will provide $13.6 billion in assistance for the people of Ukraine, as they face Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated war.
“I’m horrified by the images we are seeing in Ukraine as Putin continues his reign of terror. The people of Ukraine are doing everything they can to defend their sovereign nation, and their calls for help cannot go unanswered. [We] took a significant step forward to support Ukraine by providing $13.6 billion in humanitarian and military assistance. This is by no means the end to our support, or that of our NATO Allies; I will continue to aggressively seek to support additional congressional action to assist Ukraine, including calling for providing aircraft as President Zelenskyy has asked.”
Find a summary of the Ukraine assistance here.
The comprehensive government funding package:
- Helps working families with the cost of living: The FY22 budget reduces costs by expanding child care and early learning programs to more working families, investing in America’s K-12 public schools, increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $400, expanding access to homeownership, and bringing the promise of rural broadband to more communities.
- Expands access to nutritious foods for low-income families: This legislation tackles hunger and nutrition insecurity by expanding access to fruits and vegetables to 6.2 million women, infants and children through WIC and by ensuring 42 million people in SNAP-eligible families get the benefits they need. The bill also invests in the health of America’s kids through Child Nutrition programs, like school meals – which are now the healthiest source of food consumed in the United States.
- Connects our communities to greater online opportunities: This budget expands opportunity and lifts up rural communities by increasing funding for rural broadband, connecting more communities to the internet through a program that last year got more than 100,000 people connected to the 21st-century economy.
- Strengthens health and safety measures: The package aims to rebuild our public health and consumer safety infrastructure with increased funding to address maternal and infant nutrition, including resources for the ‘Closer to Zero’ initiative to reduce exposure to toxic elements in babies’ and young children’s food, emerging food-related chemical and toxicological issues, drug safety oversight, as well as providing additional resources for in-person inspections in large foreign drug manufacturing countries, and drug and device supply chain monitoring and surveillance. The bill also invests in our public health infrastructure by modernizing FDA’s data infrastructure to better ensure the safety and security of the food and medical supply chain.
- Supports our agriculture sector: This legislation provides important investments to ensure equitable participation in USDA programs. In total, the bill provides more funding than the request to advance racial justice, including increases for extension, research, and capacity grants at 1890 land grants, 1994 land grants, and Hispanic serving institutions to help strengthen the pipeline for the future of agriculture. It also provides funding to improve outreach and program access to historically underserved communities and provides a healthy increase for USDA’s Office of Civil Rights above the request.
- Confronts the climate crisis: This budget provides $78.3 million across USDA to address the impacts of climate change. These investments are aimed to tackle the climate crisis in farming and rural communities and include research to monitor, measure, and mitigate climate change, accelerate climate smart agriculture practices, reduce greenhouse gases, and advance clean energy technologies.
Read a section-by-section summary of the government funding package here.