U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today joined with a broad bipartisan majority in the House to pass legislation that will prevent a government shutdown at the end of this month.
“Although I am not completely satisfied with this bill, it is imperative that we move past the impending threat of a government shutdown,” Barber said. “Now that we have sent this legislation to the Senate, I hope it will be improved upon and come back to us in a stronger form.”
The House today approved the legislation 267-151. It provides continued funding for the federal government past March 27, when current funding legislation expires.
The legislation shifts Pentagon budgets in research and development and procurement to create flexibility to fund training programs, weapons maintenance and military healthcare, helping to sustain these programs in the face of sequestration, which went into effect last Friday.
The legislation also provides authority for additional funding for critical needs, such as maintaining staff levels for Border Patrol agents on the Southwest border.
The legislation also funds programs that will help the aerospace and defense sectors in Southern Arizona and increases funding for Customs and Border Protection by $300 million.
The legislation does not, however, reverse sequestration cuts, which will still cut spending by a total of $984 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Under sequestration, the Department of Homeland Security faces significant reductions for overtime, training and critical national security equipment and the Department of Defense will be required to cut $46 billion.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano previously said the sequestration cuts would mean substantially longer wait times at border crossings and reduced Border Patrol presence between ports.
“While I am supportive of action that will prevent a complete government shutdown, this legislation does not address the real problem of sequestration which imposed across-the-board cuts in all federal agencies,” Barber said today. “I am greatly concerned that our borders will be less secure and our seniors, children and middle-class families will be hurt because of cuts mandated by sequestration and subsequent furloughs.
“We must reduce spending and cut our debt – but we must do it in a smart way that targets waste and ineffective programs,” Barber added. “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues – from both sides of the aisle – to reach a fair, balanced and bipartisan solution to sequestration.”