Voting Against Today’s Continuing Resolution

The House just voted on a third continuing resolution to provide enough funding for the Federal government to operate at current levels, this time for the next four weeks. I voted against it.

As I said just two weeks ago when a nearly identical short-term funding bill came before the House, my concern with the resolution is that Republican leadership has refused to accept even a single contribution in terms of ideas, policy fixes, or priorities from a single Democrat. When the House ultimately passed H.J.Res. 123 on Dec. 14, I once again committed to writing letters, speaking in committee, and working with bipartisan colleagues to advocate for the interests of El Paso.

For example, I asked my colleagues to ensure that the 200,000 Dreamers in Texas and the 800,000 young DACA recipients across the country receive the protection they need to continue contributing at their full potential. These Dreamers are not only as American as my kids, but they have done everything we’ve asked of them. They fill out the appropriate documents, study in school, work in our communities, and follow the guidelines of the DACA program to a tee. On top of this, they’ve bravely shared their stories and made their voices heard.

More than 50 Dreamers from El Paso traveled to the Capitol to hold a policy roundtable. Nearly 1,500 Dreamers marched at the Capitol over the past few days to raise awareness and answer questions from lawmakers. Hundreds of thousands of El Pasoans and Texans have spent evening after evening advocating for themselves and their classmates, teammates, co-workers, and neighbors who hold DACA permits. On top of this, 62% of Americans say Congress should protect DACA recipients. Now we must act. But this resolution failed to do so.

I also asked my colleagues to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is essential if we want to continue ensuring kids and mothers in our state can see a doctor and receive lifesaving medication. CHIP and Medicaid combine to cover nearly half of all children in El Paso and offer prenatal care to 36,000 pregnant women in Texas. 400,000 kids in our state are about to lose the ability to see a doctor, a therapist, a nurse — the caregivers who will be able to improve or save their lives. But this resolution left them behind.

I also urged Congress to reauthorize funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs). There are 464 CHC sites in Texas and 19 in El Paso alone. But with all of that on the line and with the number of Texans assisted by CHCs increasing 28% since 2010, Republicans have still prioritized tax cuts over healthcare. In doing so, their resolution did not include reauthorizing CHCs.

While programs such as CHIP, CHCs, and DACA were abandoned by this resolution, it did extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the government to track and collect communications that those abroad had with Americans without obtaining a warrant. I have concerns with this provision and have advocated for it to be reformed rather than extended.

Without Republicans taking these ideas into consideration or even offering a basic debate on them, I couldn’t vote for this resolution. I will continue advocating for the people of El Paso and working to get a funding bill that reflects and honors our priorities.