Meng Statement on Government Spending Package

Dec 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee—which funds the federal government—issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed two spending packages that total $1.4 trillion.

“Over the last year, I’ve worked closely with my colleagues to shape government spending and policy. I’m proud that House Democrats, in a bipartisan fashion, secured so many victories across the two spending packages that help families, students, children, and seniors,” said Meng. “But our efforts to minimize and reverse the Trump administration’s dangerous and racist policies toward immigrants were stonewalled by the Republican-controlled Senate and White House. Instead of a bill that is humane toward immigrants, the final Homeland Security spending bill does not prohibit the administration from continuing to build its border wall; continues to allow the Trump administration from putting asylum-seekers in danger or prevent them from reaching U.S. soil to claim asylum, such as the “Migrant Protection Protocols;” and fails to include protections for TPS/DED recipients. Most of all, this final bill does not limit President Trump and DHS’s authority to transfer and reprogram funds for the purpose of detention, enforcement, and border wall construction; in essence, this bill is a blank check that allows the White House to continue stealing from congressionally-appropriated funds to perpetuate his anti-immigrant policies. America is and always will be a nation of immigrants. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and the subcommittee that crafted the original House-Homeland Security bill, I do not take this vote lightly. But I will not turn a blind eye to those in need, and that is why I voted against the Homeland Security package.”

In the initial House-version of the Homeland Security funding bill, H.R. 3931, the House Democratic majority on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee included strict prohibitions that prevented transfer authority and border wall construction. These items were stripped out of the final bill.

While Meng is disappointed in the Homeland Security spending bill, there were other victories she is proud of that help the American people:

  • 3.1% pay boost for federal employees
  • $425 million for election security grants
  • $7.6 billion for Census Bureau for the 2020 Decennial Census
  • $25 million for gun violence research – the first time in over 20 years to fund this research
  • $5.8 billion for Child Care & Development Block Grant
  • $5.4 billion for job training programs
  • $1.5 billion for combating the national opioid crisis

Meng voted for the Domestic Priorities and International Assistance Appropriations Minibus, H.R. 1865, which contains the following spending bills:

  • Labor-Health and Human Services-Education
  • Agriculture-Rural Development-Food and Drug Administration
  • Energy and Water Development
  • Interior-Environment
  • Legislative Branch
  • Military Construction-Veterans Affairs
  • State-Foreign Operations
  • Transportation-Housing and Urban Development

Meng voted against the National Security Appropriations Minibus, H.R. 1158, which contains the following spending bills:

  • Defense
  • Commerce-Justice-Science
  • Financial Services and General Government
  • Homeland Security