Salmon votes against, Barber for increase in spending levels

congress capitol hillArizona Congressman Matt Salmon voted against the $1.1 trillion FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill while Congressman Ron Barber voted for it.

The House voted 359-to-67 to pass the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to approve it and send it to the president for his signature.

“As I’ve said before, the enormity of our government’s current fiscal situation requires that we make bold and sometimes difficult choices to ensure our country returns to a sustainable fiscal path,” said Salmon in a statement released on Wednesday. “I remain 100% committed to making these tough choices and moving us towards a smaller and more efficient government.”

Salmon said the vote on the omnibus appropriations bill was “one of these tough choices I had to make, and ultimately, I believe that voting for a trillion-dollar-plus spending bill without more time to find ways on how we could reform and downsize government was something I could not support.”

Salmon said it was unfortunate that the bill spends $45 billion beyond the spending levels agreed upon in the Budget Control Act passed just three years ago.

Salmon cited the National Flood Insurance Program, as a federal program in need of reforms. “Moreover, we failed to address the funding structure of PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) to ensure its reliability and sustainability. As a western state, much of Arizona’s land is federally owned, which makes it heavily dependent on PILT. These federal payments to our local governments help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable acres of federal lands within our state. The money from PILT goes to schools, roads, and emergency services. This bill should have addressed the reform of this program to ensure Washington fulfills its promise to Arizona and other Western states,” said Salmon.

Barber said in a statement released Wednesday, “This bill also will fund Mental Health First Aid training for thousands of Americans, which I have been fighting for since I took office more than 1½ years ago.” Barber says he is focused on mental health issues as one way to reduce gun-related violence.”

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