Chair Murray Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup of Legislative Branch, CJS, FSGG Appropriations Acts


ICYMI: Summary of the Legislative Branch Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill – READ HERE


ICYMI: Summary of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill READ HERE


ICYMI: Summary of the Financial Services and General Government 2024 Appropriations Bill READ HERE


***WATCH: Senator Murray’s opening remarks***


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, gaveled in today’s Senate Appropriations Committee markup and delivered the following remarks as the Committee meets to consider: the Legislative Branch Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill; the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill; and the Financial Services and General Government Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill.


Senator Murray’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:


“The Committee will come to order. Today, the Committee will consider: The fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill recommended by the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch; the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill recommended by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; and the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill recommended by the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.


“I am going to start us off with some opening remarks on the three strong bills we have before us today, and then the Vice Chair will give her opening remarks.  


“Senator Collins will make the usual and customary motion to vote on final passage of the bills, and I intend to have those three votes promptly at 11:15.


“There are a number of other committees holding executive sessions this morning, so I ask everyone be here at 11:15 so we can have full attendance for those votes, then members can get where they need to be.


“Following the three votes, we will move to the consideration of amendments to the three bills.


“We had a very productive mark up at the end of June, and I’m so glad to keep the momentum going today.


“Vice Chair Collins and I agreed at the start of this Congress that it was important we return to regular order and work together to find common ground, produce serious spending bills that move our country forward, and ensure the Senate’s voice is heard loud and clear in the appropriations process.

“We have an obligation to keep this process moving, and we are determined to show the American people Congress can work in a responsible, timely, bipartisan way to pass funding bills that make their lives better and get our government and our communities the resources they need to keep our nation safe and competitive. And the overwhelming feedback I’ve heard from members on and off this Committee is that they want the same thing.


“So far, we have made good progress—and at a good pace. I’m grateful to all the subcommittee leaders and staff for the work they did to hold over 40 hearings this spring and the work happening now to craft the strongest possible funding bills under difficult circumstances.


“Before the recess, this Committee considered and passed two strong spending bills: the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill, and the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill.


“And what’s more—we did it in 28 to 0 votes.


“And I’m hopeful we will see similar, widespread support for all three of the bills before us today which were written under some very difficult limitations but are nevertheless bills that will protect key investments and move us forward.


“I know the caps in the deal President Biden and Speaker McCarthy struck are not what we all would have preferred. I’ve spoken at length about my concerns about how these caps limit our ability to invest in our country’s future. And my concerns have not disappeared.


“But we have a job to do.


“So here in the Senate, we are moving ahead, to make full use of all the resources in the debt ceiling agreement, honor its terms, and write the strongest possible bills while lessening the blow of the cuts and caps which are tough across the board—and especially on so many of our vital nondefense priorities.


“We are making clear the Senate is focused on writing serious bills that can actually be signed into law, and doing the most we possibly can for the people back home. And the three bills we are voting on today provide much-needed investments in our nation.


“The Legislative Branch bill provides crucial resources so we all can continue doing the work of the American people.


“It ensures the people who protect us, our staffs, and our nation’s Capitol and its visitors have the resources they need. That includes key resources for the Capitol Police to hire, train, and retain officers.


“This bill helps Congress stay prepared for threats—including cyberattacks, severe weather, and other emergencies so that this institution can be fully operational and jump into action at any given moment, especially when a crisis hits.


“It supports the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Congressional Research Service which provide the insight and oversight that I think every one of us would agree is crucial to writing effective, evidence-based legislation.


“It strengthens efforts to support working class parents on the hill by taking steps to make child care more accessible for staff, and updating lactation rooms for nursing moms.


“I happen to think more moms and more parents should work here in Congress—this will help with that.


“And it literally helps the Architect of the Capitol keep the lights on and the Capitol Police keep the doors safely open.


“I’d like to thank and commend the Chair and the Ranking Member, Senators Reed and Fischer, and the staffs of the subcommittee, for their truly excellent work putting together this strong, bipartisan bill.


“We will also consider the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill, which includes so many key investments that keep our country safe and competitive. I can’t overstate how important this bill is to our economy.


“Investments to strengthen our businesses and communities by connecting them to the high-speed internet they need to do just about anything in the 21st Century, strengthening our trade partnerships across the world, and keeping supply chains running smoothly.


“Investments in NOAA to restore salmon which are not just a cornerstone of our economy in Washington state—but a way of life!


“Investments to maintain our global leadership in science and innovation from research and development to keep us on top of the technologies of tomorrow—advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, AI, clean energy, and more—to continuing our legacy of leadership in space by strengthening the Artemis missions to send Americans to the Moon.


“And then there are investments in law enforcement to protect families from drug trafficking that is bringing deadly fentanyl into our communities, domestic terrorism, cyberattacks, or white supremacy and the uptick in hate crimes and violent attacks, and to protect our civil rights as well—including the all-important right to vote.


“This bill also includes a significant increase in funding for the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to prevent violence against women and better support survivors—especially Native women on Tribal lands, which has long been a major priority for me.


“And it funds the Access to Sexual Assault Nurse Exams program I worked to establish so survivors can get the care they need.


“We cannot skimp on keeping people safe—and this bill maintains and builds on our investments to do just that.


“I’d like to recognize and thank the Chair and the Ranking Member, Senators Shaheen and Moran, and the staffs of the subcommittee, for the hard, bipartisan work that went into pulling a strong bill together given some really tight constraints.


“And last for today, we have the Financial Services and General Government bill.


“This bill is so important, because the strength of our country is directly tied to the strength of our economy—and I mean on main street, not just on Wall Street!


“So I’m glad we are able to support Treasury’s critical work regulating banks, strengthening our economy, and protecting American workers and savers from paying the price for Wall Street’s mistakes.


“And we also need to protect their nest eggs—which is why this bill includes funding for FTC which protects Americans from consumer fraud—especially seniors who are common targets of criminals—and funding for the program I established in my bipartisan retirement bill last year to help connect people with retirement accounts from past employers they are missing.


“This bill also funds our work enforcing our sanctions against Russia, Iran, drug cartels, and other dangerous actors.


“And it invests in ensuring we have a capable, responsive, and accountable federal government that delivers for the American people.


“Which includes tackling pressing challenges like the opioid and substance use disorder crisis that is causing so much pain in communities across the country. And that’s why I am so glad this bill delivers new and much-needed resources for the office responsible for coordinating our federal response to the opioid epidemic.


“It also provides funding for the new Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response. I worked hard to establish this office as part of my bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act, because it is clear families need us to do better next time a crisis like COVID strikes—so I’m glad we were able to work together to get this off the ground.


“I want to commend and thank the Chair and the Ranking Member, Senators Van Hollen and Hagerty, and the staffs of the subcommittee, for the excellent work together to land this bill in a good place—especially given the very tough topline numbers we are all working with.


“These three bills provide resources our country, and our communities, are counting on and keep up critical investments in our competitiveness and future.


“So let’s continue showing the American people how seriously the Senate is taking its job, and continue working in a diligent, bipartisan way to pass bills that can actually become law, and that will actually make people’s lives better.


“Let’s vote these out of Committee with broad, bipartisan support—just like we did with our first two bills.


“And after that—we are going to keep the ball rolling with the rest of our appropriations bills too!


“Because we all want to continue our return to regular order. There’s absolutely no need for chaos or shutdowns. And no one wants to see a damaging CR that would slash critical programs across the board.


“So I hope we can continue this progress with a full slate of bipartisan funding bills that make the investments our country needs to succeed. And that we can continue discussing how we lessen the damage of the caps on our defense spending, and cuts to our non-defense spending.


“This process is never easy—and was never going to be easy this year—but we are moving forward, and I’m grateful to all of my colleagues for putting in the work to get us here.


“And now I hope all of you will be with me on these votes, so that we can ensure—as I have said many times now—that the Senate makes its voice heard, and this chamber has its say on how we invest in America’s future.”