THOMPSON VOTES AGAINST 2015 OMNIBUS BILL
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted against the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) that includes numerous provisions that would put our economy at risk, hurt the middle class, provide funding for Syrian rebels to fight ISIL, and undermine the president’s attempts to address problems with our broken immigration system.
“Once again, House Republicans are threatening to shutdown the government by including provisions in a last-minute funding bill that’s needed to keep the government open past midnight. Buried deep in this bill is a provision that would put American taxpayers back on the hook for bailing out Wall Street when their riskiest bets go wrong. These kinds of risky bets brought our financial system to the brink of collapse in 2008, and cost our nation millions of jobs. While this provision is a windfall for Wall Street and will allow them to once again gamble with taxpayer’s money, it’s a blow to the middle class.
“If that wasn’t enough, the funding bill would dramatically increase the amount of money wealthy donors can funnel into our elections, preventing the voices of American middle class families and small businesses from being heard.
“This funding bill also provides $500 million to train and arm Syrian rebel groups to fight ISIL. While ISIL is a dangerous terrorist organization that must be stopped, we do not have enough information on the people we are arming and training, nor can we ensure that these weapons will not fall into the hands of ISIL, or be used against innocent civilians.
“Finally, the legislation attempts to undercut the President’s executive actions to address problems with our broken immigration system by only providing short-term funding to the government agency tasked with carrying out these fixes.
“We need a clean, straight-forward spending bill that doesn’t hurt our middle class, undermine our democratic process, arm foreign rebels we know little about, or undercut efforts to fix our immigration system.”
H.R. 83 repeals a portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that required banks to separate and independently fund their derivative trades, which were one of the central causes of the financial crisis in 2008. Repealing this provision of Dodd-Frank will allow banks, backed by taxpayer-insured funds, to trade derivatives and get bailed out if the trades lead to another near financial collapse.
A second provision in H.R. 83 would increase the sums a single contributor could give to a party committee by nearly tenfold per year. Under the current limits, a donor can give $129,600 to the Democratic or Republican National Committee and another $64,800 to the parties' House and Senate committees in each two-year election cycle. The new rules proposed in the omnibus bill would increase those limits to $648,000 for the parties’ national committees and $453,600 for their House and Senate committees.
Additionally, the omnibus bill provides $500 million to extend a Pentagon program to arm and train up to 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIL. In September, Thompson voted against arming these rebels.
H.R. 83 funds all government agencies though the end of September, except for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS, the agency responsible for carrying out the President’s recently announced executive orders on immigration, is only funded until February 27th. Such short-term funding could undermine the Obama Administration’s ability to carry out the President’s executive orders.
H.R. 83 passed the House by a vote of 219-206 and now goes to the Senate for a vote.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
# # #