Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, issued the following statement in response to the House passage of the Omnibus Budget Deal for Fiscal Year 2014 (H.R. 3547):
“The compromise omnibus appropriations bill is an important step forward for our Central Coast community. It’s not a perfect funding package and it doesn’t reflect all of my priorities, but I am very pleased to see both sides coming together and working in a bipartisan fashion to keep our government functioning, so that we may continue serving the needs of our constituents.
“Of particular note, the compromise begins to undo some of the harmful consequences of sequestration that we have seen here on the Central Coast. While we cannot fully undo the effects of Atascadero’s Head Start program closing or the reduction of slots for children in Santa Barbara’s program, I am pleased this bill restores funding to Head Start and the Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships so that more kids may have access to these vital services.
“Similarly, the effects of sequestration on fire protection at Vandenberg Air Force Base have also been damaging and concerning, as the cuts and furloughs that came from sequester coincided with the start of fire season. This Omnibus package specifically directs the Department of Defense to end its furlough policy and will protect civilian defense employees this fiscal year. I’m happy to see this vital public safety funding restored and protected, especially as we continue to experience this terrible draught.
“Finally, after our local housing assistance programs were hit hard by sequester cuts — preventing families from accessing safe and stable housing options — I’m pleased that we’re beginning to fund these important provisions at more adequate amounts to address the need on the Central Coast. Furthermore, I was happy to see that with the Omnibus bill, certain communities will be able to retain their eligibility for federal housing assistance and economic development funding, including Atascadero, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Nipomo and Carpinteria — a designation I’ve been working to maintain.
“Working together to pass this Omnibus budget helps to get our nation back on track and I’m hopeful that this strong bipartisan effort is a harbinger of things to come in 2014 as we move forward to tackle the many critical issues facing the country.”
The measure passed with a bipartisan vote of 359-67 (Roll Call 21), for which Capps voted in favor. The Senate is expected to take up the House passed measure on Friday. Senate passage would send the budget to the president’s desk for his signature and enactment.
— C.J. Young is a press assistant for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.