Today, at long last, Congress has met its obligation to fund the government and meet the needs of citizens across the country. I'm proud to serve on the Appropriations Committee and secure millions in funding for priorities important to Washington state. Making the federal government work for local communities is my top priority, and today I'm confident we took a step in that direction.
From Bellingham to Spokane, from Walla Walla to Vancouver and throughout the Puget Sound region, this money will help improve the quality of life for all Washingtonians by improving our transportation infrastructure, investing in research, and protecting our environment.
But I am concerned about the signal this bill sends to the American people about how Republicans intend to govern in the next four years. On issue after issue, a small group of extreme legislators defied the will of the majority by inserting anti-woman and anti-worker measures in the legislation. If this is how Republicans intend to unite the country, it could be a long four years for working families across America.
This legislation attempts to deny women access to reproductive health care and information. The Weldon amendment is an attempt by a few select extremists to overturn the wishes of the people of Washington State and was only adopted behind closed doors without any hearings or discussion in the Senate.
Washington State has a broad conscience clause that protects health care providers and institutions. But, we do expect health care providers to care for women and provide them with appropriate, accurate information about all of their health care options. Doctors and patients, not a few select Members of Congress, must make these decisions.
In addition, the Bush Administration has defied majorities in both houses of Congress and insisted on stripping overtime pay from millions of hard-working Americans. That veto threat was a slap in the face to workers and their families across the country.
I'm deeply troubled at these covert assaults, and I will continue to fight these efforts at every turn.
Finally, I was also pleased that we were able to secure an agreement to remove a provision that could have threatened the privacy of taxpayers. Thanks to a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that provision will never see the light of day.