March 23, 2024

Van Hollen Statement on Funding Package

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding the second package of Fiscal Year 2024 funding bills:

“As I have often said, the investments we make in our nation show where our priorities lie. But this funding package does not wholly represent, in my opinion, the best of our nation, our values, and our priorities. I am glad this bill includes many of our hard-fought priorities for Maryland – including crucial investments in our schools, health care, and child care; $40 million in funding for local community projects; and funding for our many top-notch federal agencies and military installations. This legislation also includes key resources to support working families, boost our small businesses, and continue growing our economy, as well as $200 million for the new FBI Headquarters in Greenbelt, Md. – all of which I fought for in my role as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

“That being said, I am furious over the provision within this bill to prohibit funds for UNRWA for the next year. Simply put, it makes zero sense to cut off funding for the primary mechanism for delivering urgently-needed food and aid to the starving and desperate people of Gaza. The willingness of Republicans to shut down our government over this provision is downright despicable. As angry as I am, I recognize that defunding the U.S. government will not help fund UNRWA; shutting down the U.S. government will not help feed starving people in Gaza. But while closing the government cannot solve this problem, the Administration can. The bill boosts U.S. funding for other international organizations, which should allow other countries to backfill funding for UNRWA so it can maintain its life-saving operations in Gaza and provide important services in the West Bank and throughout the region. The burden is now on the Biden Administration to work with other nations to make that happen.

“While I voted tonight to keep our government open and maintain the critical functions of our agencies both here at home and abroad, I will not back down in the fight on this issue.”