January 16, 2014


Washington, D.C— Congressman Joaquin Castro released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan $1.012 trillion omnibus bill,  funding agencies for Fiscal Year 2014. The funding bill passed with 359 Representatives voting in favor and 67 voting against.   
“Stopgap funding measures have been mired by partisan politics causing the budget cycle to be unsteady and inefficient. After years of operating without a long-term budget funding government agencies, I am pleased that the bipartisan budget deal has allows Congress to start off the year by governing and exercising the power of the purse.  
When Congress failed to govern last year, thousands of San Antonians at Joint Base San Antonio were furloughed for more than a week because of sequestration. In October, many of those same folks found themselves out of a job again in October for almost two weeks as a result of the government shutdown.
This budget agreement finally put some certainty for the next two fiscal years and dampened the effects of sequestration. This omnibus bill details the projects that will be funded as a result of the budget agreement. 
For San Antonio, it means that projects that have been stalled for years are finally part of a process that is moving.
San Antonio Courthouse
For example, the San Antonio Courthouse is one of the several priority projects in the Judicial Conference of the US Five-Year Courthouse Project Plan, but scattershot funding and sequestration have caused delays of projects across the nation and prevented the courthouse’s construction. 
As a result of the budget deal, a bipartisan group of colleagues and I urged the appropriations committee to ensure that the omnibus bill included adequate funding for these stalled projects. 
Although the San Antonio Courthouse construction won’t be underway this year, the funding allocated in this omnibus bill means that the projects that have stalled the longest are finally getting underway, bumping up the San Antonio Courthouse to the top of the list of priorities. 
This omnibus bill gets agencies and projects in motion allowing Congress to better govern and serve our constituents. 
Military Pensions
Furthermore, as a representative of Military City USA, it is especially important that our nation’s fiscal responsibilities won’t be paid for on Military Pensions.
This omnibus bill ensures that those disabled veterans who retired from our armed forces receive the full benefits they have earned. 
However, I would like to see more work done on the COLA adjustment to military retirees in the upcoming NDAA. I have also introduced the Military Retirement Restoration Act to ensure that as we continue to look for ways to be fiscally responsible, the rest of our military retirees are not the ones paying to stabilize our budgets.  
World Heritage Fund
I am disappointed that funding for the World Heritage program was not included in the omnibus bill that funds government agencies this fiscal year.  However, I am encouraged to know that we are on the right track for the San Antonio Missions by the bipartisan support we received for the World Heritage program in the U.S. House.  The process for funding for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins in October, will start very soon. I will continue to advocate for U.S involvement in the World Heritage program. The Missions deserve to be evaluated strictly on merit, and politics should not get in the way. 
The most basic primary function of Congress is the power of the purse. It is clear that Band-Aid Continuing Resolutions don’t provide the stability necessary to effectively govern. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure we continue on the path of fiscal responsibility and gain back the trust of the American people.”