WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal released the following statement in response to House passage of the latest Republican FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act:
“I voted no on today’s omnibus bill. I recognize there are some compelling aspects of this bill. Democrats fought tooth and nail to have our priorities included, particularly for child care, transportation infrastructure, election protections, health insurance and other critical programs. However, the fact remains for me, the bad outweighs the good. I just can’t stomach it.
“Republicans continue to work in secrecy and manipulation, throwing down a 2,000-page spending bill at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and forcing a vote on it this Thursday afternoon. While they attempted to attach numerous poison-pill riders to this bill, they never once considered attaching something positive for Dreamers. The refusal of Republican leadership to include any permanent solution for 800,000 Dreamers who face deportation makes it crystal clear that Republican leadership and this administration have never been serious about finding any solution for these young people. The GOP has held hostage, threatened, flip-flopped and ultimately forsaken Dreamers, and the consequences will be felt at the ballot box in November. And while we were able to stop increases in detention beds and ICE agents, the truth is we already spend far too much on a deportation and detention machine that hurts families, communities and our economy. Among the many provisions hidden in the bill, the secretary of Homeland Security is given the authority to transfer funds from other accounts to pay for this mass deportation machine. That is unacceptable.
“Republicans also funded increases in border security that are completely unnecessary, without any recognition that we must stop backing this hate and move forward with real, humane reforms to our immigration system. We need to bring people out of the shadows and allow families to be together – that is the work that Republicans have no interest in pursuing.
“In addition, this budget includes an unprecedented increase in military spending at a time when the Pentagon budget is at historic highs. On defense, the U.S. spends $100 billion more than it spent on average during the Cold War. Our world is fraught with military conflict and we should be investing in diplomatic solutions instead of putting more into the Pentagon – the only federal agency that is not audited. The most patriotic thing we can do for our troops is invest in every possible solution so they don’t get sent into war in the first place. In short, we can do better than this.”
“Even as I cast a vote against this bill, I am glad to see that many groups across the district and across the country are finally getting much-needed funding for mental health, opioids, and economic support for their kids and families. As an immigrant rights activist who has been arrested for civil disobedience numerous times, I vow to never give up the fight for real and humane immigration reform, including the Dream Act. I call upon Republicans immediately to agree to a Queen of the Hill process that allows several immigration bills, including the Hurd-Aguilar bill, to come to the floor for a vote. That’s all we are asking for – a simple vote on a set of bills so that the House can make its voice heard. If Republican leadership refuses – which I have every reason to believe they will – our only option is to express ourselves at the ballot box, loudly and clearly.”