Vote Explanation for H.R. 5485 — Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act

The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act provides $21.735 billion for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other related agencies. Overall, this legislation authorizes total funding $1.5 billion (6%) below what was enacted by Congress last year, and $2.7 billion (11%) below the President’s request.

Unsurprisingly, this legislation contains countless Republican policy riders that tie the hands of the Obama Administration in its last few months. These include:

  • A prohibition on the IRS from further implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ACA uses.
  • Subjecting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to the annual appropriations process and changing the structure of the CFPB from a directorship to a 5-member commission, which would make it harder for the CFPB to issue regulations and guidance.
  • Impediments to the autonomy of the District of Columbia by: (1) prohibiting D.C. from using its local funds to further legalize marijuana; (2) repealing D.C.’s new law establishing budget autonomy; and (3) reauthorizing the private school voucher program.
  • Measures that undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and efforts to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations.

Additionally, H.R. 5485 includes deep cuts to a number of critical programs, including the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the SEC, FCC, and the Federal Buildings Fund. The Treasury Department and the IRS are also severely underfunded.

These are some of the most important agencies in our federal government, charged with regulating and monitoring our financial system, implementing the ACA, and mitigating the effects of big money in our elections, among other things. Not only does this legislation contain harmful policy riders, but it is also asking the Administration to do more with less. For these reasons I voted against H.R. 5485.

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