Funding the government and delivering results


Congress is responsible for passing annual appropriations to ensure that essential federal government programs remain funded, our national defense remains strong, and our country is able to continue to grow and thrive. This has often come in the form of lengthy pieces of legislation, with top-line spending numbers decided on by the leadership of the majority party, leading to massive spending bills that increased the national deficit. When Republicans won the majority in the House, we made a commitment to do things differently.

Instead of a top-down approach, we vowed to responsibly fund the government and ensure that members of the House, and by extension the American people, have a say in what goes into funding packages. We have fulfilled that promise by ensuring that appropriations bills were thoroughly debated and passed by relevant committees, rather than dictated by leadership, before being put on the floor for a vote.

That’s why I was proud to have cast my vote in favor of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides funding for the first six of 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024 and was recently signed into law. This critical government funding package cuts wasteful spending and is estimated to save taxpayers $200 billion over the next 10 years, while funding critical domestic priorities — making this the first overall cut to non-defense, non-Veterans Affairs spending in almost a decade. It includes robust funding for local law enforcement, expands efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis, and prohibits the Department of Justice from targeting Americans based on their religion or political ideology. It bolsters our military, expands housing for service members, and funds health care for our veterans.

I’m proud to have had provisions I supported for VA suicide prevention outreach programs and for VA medical and prosthetic research included.

What I am most proud of, however, is the many Long Island priorities included in this legislation, thanks to my efforts and the efforts of my fellow members of the Long Island delegation. I secured $36.4 million for 15 community projects in the 2nd Congressional District, including flood-resiliency projects that will improve public safety, sewer projects that will allow our main streets to grow and keep our waterways clean, local housing projects to increase affordable options for residents, workforce training that will empower Long Islanders to grow their skills, local law enforcement resources that will enable them to better protect our community, and several other projects that will benefit all of us.

One of my top priorities is making sure Washington works for the people of Long Island, not the other way around. By ensuring that critical local priorities were included in the appropriations package, I was able to bring federal dollars directly into our communities.

Government funding must be done in a way that is intentional and takes the needs of real Americans into account. That’s what the Consolidated Appropriations Act has done. All in all, this legislation is a lesson in responsible government funding that includes key policy priorities and keeps our government open.

Andrew R. Garbarino represents the 2nd Congressional District.