WASHINGTON, DC -- During a speech today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) urged Members to vote against the controversial federal funding bill for State and Foreign Operations. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Ranking Member Rogers highlighted unrestrained spending and the unprecedented removal of the most important condition in any appropriations bill - that no taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for an abortion.
Congressman Rogers gave the following remarks in opposition of the bill:
"I rise today in opposition to H.R. 4373 – the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022.
"At the outset, I want to congratulate our Subcommittee Chair on shepherding her first bill to the House floor. The bill before us provides $62.2 billion for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, which is a 12 percent increase over the fiscal year 2021 enacted level.
"The bill provides important funding for our national security, including $3.3 billion for Israel. The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the looming shadow of Hezbollah and Iran, remind us all of the threats Israel faces to its security every day.
"The fighting in Gaza stopped when it did in part due to the diplomatic efforts of Egypt. As Secretary of State Blinken told the Committee, Egypt was vital to helping arrange the cease-fire and remains an essential partner for the United States in the region.
"While the bill maintains funding for Egypt at the current level, I strongly disagree with additional conditions on the aid.
"The bill also continues critical funding for Jordan, supports countries facing Russian aggression, and provides resources to meet our commitments in the Indo-Pacific, including $300 million for the Countering Chinese Influence Fund.
"The bill provides funding for Colombia, our good friend and ally, at last year’s level. This is a critical moment for that country and we should be doing all we can to support them. However, I regret that new conditions were added that could undermine our counternarcotics efforts.
"Our programs there are in our own self-interest, especially given the amount of cocaine that still floods American streets and causes so much destruction in our communities back home.
"Another drug problem sowing chaos back home is the opioid epidemic. The bill includes new language that directs the State Department to expand their current efforts to tackle the opioid crisis and better address this terrible problem.
"I wish I could stop there and say this a good bill. Unfortunately, the spending increases outside of these critical areas is too great and the policy riders are too extreme.
"First and foremost are changes made to the long-standing measures that protect the sanctity of life. These are common-sense provisions that have enjoyed bi-partisan support for decades. Of greatest concern is the removal of the most important condition in any State-Foreign Operations bill – that no funds can be used to pay for abortion. This change is unprecedented, but it doesn’t stop there.
"The bill also includes a permanent prohibition of the Mexico City policy, weakens the Kemp-Kasten restrictions on coercive abortion, increases funding to U.N.F.P.A., among many other controversial changes.
"Another tough pill for the American taxpayer to swallow is the more than $3 billion included in this bill for environmental programs that bring a high potential for duplication, wasteful complexity, and substantial oversight challenges.
"The bill also increases funding for the United Nations and other international organizations, while ignoring the need for long overdue and desperately needed reforms.
"The absence of conditions on the World Health Organization is particularly concerning given what we all know about their complicity in covering up the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Despite some areas of agreement, the unrestrained spending and unprecedented partisan riders require my opposition to the legislation. I therefore urge my colleagues to oppose this bill."