House Advances Bills Funding Health Research, National Parks

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Working to find common ground and end the government shutdown one bill at a time, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed bi-partisan legislation providing funding for important government operations, keeping national parks and museums open, and cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Additional non-controversial funding bills for veterans’ services and National Guard and Reserve pay are set to pass as soon as Thursday.

U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) supported the funding measures, saying finding common ground is essential to ultimately resolving the current stalemate in Washington.

“Everyone knows Republicans and Democrats don’t see eye to eye on every spending issue,” Rep. Roby said. “However, there is a lot we do agree on, like funding for critical cancer research and the national parks. That’s I was proud to support these bi-partisan bills. And we’ll continue to work to find additional common ground on issues like veterans services and making sure our national guardsmen and reservists are paid.

“I hope the Senate will do the right thing and act on these House appropriations bills as soon as possible. Let’s move forward on what we easily agree on, and not let our differences over more controversial issues block funding for these other government priorities.”

Specifically, the House passed:

·H.J.Res. 70 – Open Our National Parks and Museum: provides funding for the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art and the United States Holocaust Museum

·H.J.Res. 71 – Provide Local Funding for DC: allows the District of Columbia to spend its local funds as proposed in its most recent budget

· H.J. Res. 73 – Research for Lifesaving Cures: provides funding for National Institutes of Health programs

Each of the bills would provide funding through December 15, 2013 while Congress works out a longer term spending plan.

The White House and Senate Democratic Leadership today surprisingly expressed an unwillingness to advance these bills. Rep. Roby said it doesn’t make sense why Democratic leaders would object to these funding bills since these areas are non-controversial, and since a similar measure funding military salaries passed swiftly a few days ago.

“I’m baffled as to why President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would balk at these and other non-controversial funding bills,” she said. “If the President and the Senate would support a standalone military funding bill, why not one for our veterans? Why not our National Guardsmen and Reservists? Why not for our National Park System? Why not for cancer research?

“Yesterday we couldn’t get Democrats to negotiate over what we disagree on. Today we can’t get them to even consider what we do agree on. I hope they’ll reconsider and come to the table.”

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