By Jane Lemons
Republican and Democratic members of Congress from Virginia praised the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress this week, saying it provides stability for the state's military and federal workforce by staving off another government shutdown.
The entire Virginia delegation supported the bill, which passed 359-67 in the House on Wednesday and 72-26 in the Senate on Thursday.
The omnibus appropriations bill provides discretionary funding for the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.
"We’ve alleviated the worst effects of the sequester, secured more funds for life saving medical research at NIH, averted another harmful government shutdown, and protected the EPA,” U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, a Democrat who represents Arlington and part of McLean, said in a statement. “Federal employees won’t have to work in a climate of uncertain furloughs and pay freezes for at least the next few years. This agreement secures their first pay raise in three years and provides them well deserved financial security."
Moran, who is retiring from Congress, is the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Interior subcommittee and a senior member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.
Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf held a news conference Friday to discuss the bill. Wolf, who represents the rest of the McLean area, is also retiring and is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies.
“The bill continues my effort to rein in federal spending while continuing to preserve core priorities such as job creation, boosting U.S. competitiveness through smart investments in science and space exploration, fighting crime, gangs and terrorism, and bolstering cybersecurity,” he said. “All things considered, it is remarkable that the Appropriations Committee has been able to make these types of cuts while still producing a bill with strong bipartisan support."
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine issued a joint news release supporting the bill.
“This two-year agreement should help Virginia families, employers and community leaders move forward with more predictability and confidence," Warner said. "While I’m pleased that, at least in the near term, we will not be lurching from crisis to crisis, we still need to have an adult conversation about our nation’s spending and debt.”
Kaine agreed: “This bill offsets the worst effects of sequestration while funding so many critical priorities for Virginia communities. I will also continue to pursue every path — both legislatively, as well as through my role on the Armed Services Committee — to reverse the provision in the budget agreement that makes a reduction to the cost of living increase (COLA) for certain military retirees."