The federal budget and the Appropriation bills which Congress approve annually are a reflection of our fundamental values and priorities as a nation. Determining which investments our government makes is perhaps one of the most important decisions Congress faces each year. This is also at the heart of Congress' Constitutional responsibilities: Article 1 of the Constitution envisions the "power of the purse" as the most important way for the Legislative Branch to hold the Executive Branch accountable and ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the government's decisions.
The House Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over the 12 annual spending bills and controls one-third of the federal government’s $3 trillion budget. As a senior member of the Committee, I have fought consistently for robust investments in our nation’s defense and homeland security, as well as education, innovation, infrastructure, and a multitude of issues that make our nation strong, while also working to promote fairness and fiscal responsibility in the federal appropriations process.
In the current Congress, I have the honor of serving as the senior Democratic member of the Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee
, which develops the annual budget for all the military construction activities of the Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, Defense-Wide, and Guard and Reserve Forces. This Subcommittee is also responsible for all military family housing construction. Our subcommittee also develops the budget of the Department of Veteran Affairs , as well as the American Battle Monuments Commission, the Armed Forces Retirement Home and Arlington Cemetery.
I also serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture
, which develops the annual budget for the Department of Agriculture (Except Forest Service) Farm Credit Administration, Farm Credit System Financial Assistance Corporation, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Food and Drug Administration (HHS). Agriculture is the backbone of our nation's economy and is one of Georgia's largest single economic sectors. Agriculture is the number one industry in Georgia and produces valuable exports like peanuts, cotton and poultry. As a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I've worked to advance agricultural research, the production of American-made energy and to ensure a safe and abundant food supply.
Finally, I am also a member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee
, which establishes the budget for the House of Representatives, the Library of Congress, and the Government Accountability Office.
My role as an Appropriations Committee member from Georgia has also allowed me to ensure that central and southwest Georgia gets its fair share of federal resources by fighting for programs and projects on which it depends. I have been a leading advocate for rural development funding, improved food inspection and agriculture research.
I have also secured funding for a wide range of local projects that directly benefit the Second Congressional District, as well as the State of Georgia. As an active participant in the successful effort to balance the budget during the 1990s—which produced four straight years of budget surpluses and allowed us to pay down our national debt for the first time in a generation— I have been a strong advocate for a return to fiscal responsibility during this time of mounting deficits and debt. The reckless fiscal policies that characterized the Bush Administration—trillions in unpaid-for tax cuts, two expensive wars, and the abandonment of pay-as-you-go budgeting by Congress—left our country in a deep hole at the time the economic crisis hit, and climbing back out will require tough choices and shared sacrifices.
As your representative, I will continue to fight for a federal budget that protects critical domestic investments while also charting a responsible path back to fiscal balance. I hope you will keep in touch with me as Congress debates these important issues.