We List LB Projects Included in Massive Fed'l Spending Package Passed by House
Statement by Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald opposing the rule on H.R. 2673, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2004.
(December 8. 2003) -- The House of Representatives has passed and forwarded to the Senate a mammoth $375 billion catch-all spending bill that allocates sums totaling nearly $1 million to LB City Hall to renovate the LB Museum of Latin American Art, construct a Stearns Park multi-use facility, provide LBPD with law enforcement technology, provide buses and facilities to LB Transit and implement storm water infrastructure improvements.
Miller Children's Hospital is slated to receive $200,000 as part of Dept. of Health and Human Services programs for construction and renovation (including equipment) of health care and other facilities, abstinence education, related services and other health-related activities.
The omnibus federal spending package also earmarks $1 million to implement part of a federal energy bill that offers up to $2 billion in loan guarantees for a not yet chosen project to transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Alaska to a west coast site (not necessarily LB).
An on-shore LNG terminal at the Port of LB is being pursued by Sound Energy Solutions (a Mitsubishi subsidiary) that would bring LNG from Indonesia or Russia. Other firms are considering other west coast LNG locations...including an offshore site in Ventura.
A Sound Energy Solutions LB spokesman indicated company comment on the legislation would be subsequently conveyed.
LBReport.com downloaded the bill (roughly 1,200 pages) and thanks to computer search capability found the following:
- Dept. of Justice, as part of COPS (community policing) Law Enforcement Technology Program: $100,000 for the Long Beach, CA, Police Department for law enforcement technologies
- Federal Transit Administration: $400,000 to LB Transit for buses and bus facilities
- Dept. of Housing & Urban Development: $75,000 to the City of Long Beach for renovation of the Museum of Latin American Art
- Dept. of Housing & Urban Development: $150,000 to the City of Long Beach for construction of multi-use facilities at the Stearns Park Community Center
- Environmental Protection Agency, under targeted program making grants to communities for the construction of drinking water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure and for water quality protection: $250,000 to the City of Long Beach for storm water infrastructure improvements
- Dept. of Health & Human Services, for construction and renovation (including equipment) of health care and other facilities, abstinence education, related services and other health-related activities: $200,000 to Miller's Children's Hospital, Long Beach
The spending bill cleared the House 242-176...with Congressmembers Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., LB-Carson) and Dana Rohrabacher (R, HB-LB-PV) voting "no" for different reasons, neither specific to any LB project.
Congressman Rohrabacher voted against the bill because it had too many pet pork projects, said his Capitol Hill press secretary, Aaron Lewis.
Congresswoman Millender-McDonald voted against the bill, blasting a provision she charged would remove overtime pay protection for many American workers. We post in full below a statement in opposition submitted by Congresswoman Millender-McDonald for inclusion in the official record of the House proceedings.
Congressman Ed Royce, an Orange County Republican whose includes LB's El Dorado Park Estates area, also voted against the bill.
The legislation now goes to the Senate where (as of our posting) it's uncertain if it will be considered immediately...or in January 2004.
To view the entire House recorded vote, click here.
For further on the spending bill, click Reuters national coverage.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to object to consideration of the Omnibus Appropriations bill. I am specifically concerned with provisions in this legislation that would result in the removal of overtime pay protection for many American workers.
A few months ago, this House voted to instruct conferees to remove unfair provisions on overtime pay. Despite the will of a majority of Members, those provisions still remain in this bill. This does not reflect the true position of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Speaker, I am referring to what has been called “the Harkin amendment.” This amendment to the FY 2004 Labor-HHS appropriations bill would stop the Department of Labor from issuing any regulation that disqualifies from overtime protection any workers who are protected under current rules.
The opponents of overtime pay protection would require employees to work more than 40 hours weekly without being paid time and a half; under the proposed rules, workers would not be paid anything for their additional work.
The Department of Labor claims that only 644,000 current workers will lose overtime pay benefits under the provisions of this legislation.
In stark contrast, the Economic Policy Institute reports that over eight million eligible workers are earning overtime, and will be adversely affected by these regulations. This figure includes including 5.5 million workers paid hourly and 2.5 million salaried employees.
We all know that we live in a time of scarce resources and few job opportunities. Therefore, this drastic pay cut, especially during the holiday season, is fundamentally unfair and wrong for American workers.
Over 1.4 million Americans are also faced with the expiration of their unemployment benefits at the end of this month.
We cannot in good conscience go home to celebrate the holidays with our families while unemployed Americans face a grim future and a bleak holiday season.
Mr. Chairman, I urge the Members of this body to take action today that will give hope to American workers, and protect the wages they earn and extend the benefits they deserve.