Langevin Statement on Passage of an Omnibus Spending Bill

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) issued the following statement in response to House passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill by a vote of 219-206:

“I applaud the work Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Lowey and their staffs put towards drafting legislation to fund the federal government. Sadly, I cannot support the finished product due to extraneous provisions that have no business being in an appropriations bill. These riders, included at the last minute with no debate and no input from Democratic members, circumvent the will of American voters, harm retirees, put taxpayer dollars at risk, and allow a privileged few to have even more influence over our elections. 

“These extraneous provisions have nothing to do with funding the government. Instead, they will cut benefits to seniors and roll back critical Dodd-Frank provisions to protect taxpayer dollars. They will also increase the amount of money that special interests, private corporations, and wealthy donors can spend on political conventions and other election activities, when we know that more money in politics is not the solution, it’s the problem.

“Rhode Islanders are still recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, and I cannot vote for a return to the status quo, which helped bring about the crisis in the first place. The derivatives provision is a Christmas gift to big banks at the expense of American taxpayers. It would remove restrictions included in Dodd-Frank that prevent these banks from gambling with our constituents’ money by using taxpayer-insured bank deposits in risky derivatives transactions.

“I am greatly disappointed that I am not able to support what is in many other ways a solid bill. This legislation includes funding for important investments to our infrastructure, the National Institutes of Health, Ebola response efforts, spinal cord injury research, the peerless Virginia-class submarines, and so many other initiatives and programs that are critical to our national defense and our future as a nation – not to mention that it provides for the brave men and women in our armed services and intelligence community who are in harm’s way even as we speak.  Regrettably, these priorities were eclipsed by poisonous provisions that could greatly undermine the important work voters elected us to do -- restore the economic certainty we need to keep our economy growing and our businesses hiring. 

“Mr. Speaker, I have supported numerous bipartisan efforts in the past to fund the government, and I know what can be accomplished when Democrats and Republicans sit down and negotiate in good faith. But the price Republicans are trying to exact this time is simply too high, and I will not sacrifice my principles and the interests of my constituents.”