Velázquez on Appropriations Legislation, Dreamers
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) issued the following statement regarding government funding legislation to be considered in the U.S. House of Representatives today:
“I will be voting against this legislation. The fact is we have a solemn obligation to protect the hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers whose futures Donald Trump has targeted and is holding hostage for his foolish, hateful wall. This bill provided a rare window to remedy this situation and ensure these young people, who are American in every way but on paper, remain here, in the only country that they have ever called home. Yet House Republicans would not even provide a firm assurance that they will allow a fair debate on immigration legislation, something the Senate Republican leadership has promised.
“Voting against the funding contained in this legislation is not, however, perfectly simple. This legislation contains badly needed disaster assistance for Puerto Rico, something I and many of my New York constituents care deeply about. New York City and Puerto Rico have always shared a profound bond and we are deeply vested in helping the Island recover from Maria. I want to thank Leaders Schumer and Pelosi for their tireless efforts to boost the disaster funding for Puerto Rico in this bill. Regardless of this bill’s fate, I will continue fighting for more assistance and will not rest until Puerto Rico is made whole.
“I would also observe that this legislation funds programs important to New York’s working families. Overall, this measure includes a $131 billion increase for non-defense programs, funding government services vital to our communities. It includes a two-year reauthorization for Community Health Centers, with more than $7 billion in total funding. It also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program for ten years, ensuring parents around the nation can secure healthcare for their kids. It would allocate $20 billion for infrastructure, helping to shore up our ailing roads, bridges and public transit. Democratic Leaders in Congress should be applauded for securing these provisions through the process of painstaking negotiation.
“However, despite all the positive elements in this package, in the final analysis, I feel morally compelled to stand with the young Dreamers who are imperiled by this Administration’s hateful, irresponsible policies. I could not look in the eye the young New York City Dreamers who are our neighbors, if I abandoned them by voting for this bill. Voting against this bill – and its funding for Puerto Rico and important domestic programs -- is not easy, but, on balance, it is the right thing to do. We are elected to take tough votes and, ultimately, this is the correct decision for my constituents, my district and, the nation.”