Chair Murray Remarks on Next Steps in Consideration of Appropriations Package
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor about the Senate's consideration of the appropriations package comprising the MilCon-VA, Agriculture-FDA, and Transportation-HUD bills after seeking unanimous consent to proceed with 5 Republican and 5 Democratic amendments to the bills—and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) objected.
Senator Murray’s full floor remarks, as delivered, are below:
“M. President. Let’s be clear: to all of my colleagues who told me and Senator Collins and the American people that we have to get back to regular order: that is exactly what we are working to do here.
“But we have been working in good faith to set up amendments votes to get the ball rolling.
“And now there are a few colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are dismissing all this out of hand any kind of reasonable agreement to move this process forward and blocking all of the agreements we do put together to move forward.
“Listen when I say this: if we all want regular order, a key part of this is allowing Senators to come down, have amendments voted on, and move forward with an amendment process so that Senators can make their voices heard on our funding bills.
“So we can’t move at a glacial pace and we can’t have Senators obstruct the process needlessly.
“I do hope they reconsider, and work with us on a timely, serious process so all Senators—especially those who do not serve on the Appropriations Committee—can come here and speak up for their values and their constituents.
“I know colleagues are ready to bring forward amendments, some of which I won’t agree with—will likely vote against—all of which I am prepared with my colleague from Maine to discuss and debate.
“But the Senate should be allowed to work its will and to debate these issues here on the floor, and the American public should be able to see for themselves where their elected leaders stand on those issues as we consider the legislation that will fund the United States government—that is regular order!
“But that can’t happen until everyone in this body gets serious about coming to an agreement about how we move this process forward—period.
“Now I want to be clear: while a few Senators seem determined to derail a bipartisan process—this bipartisan process—the vast majority of our colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, have put serious effort into crafting genuine, bipartisan bills.
“I know that because the Senator from Maine and I took great pains to make sure everyone could weigh in here.
“We made extraordinary progress in the Senate Appropriations Committee. I have heard about it from so many of you, on both sides of the aisle, all week!
“How did we do it?
“We agreed early on to have an open, bipartisan process for our funding bills—exactly what many Senators have been calling for.
“We said: let’s stick to the bipartisan debt limit deal we all passed into law and let’s keep out partisan poison pills and let’s give members the chance to weigh in and make their constituents’ voices heard.
“In other words: let’s show the American people Congress can actually work.
“Let’s be clear: the bills we are considering aren’t Democratic or Republican spending bills.
“They are bills both sides—Democrats and Republicans—wrote after a lot of negotiation and compromise.
“This package reflects input from Senators from across the country and across the political spectrum working on behalf of the people who sent them here.
“And that is exactly why all the bills in this package passed our Committee unanimously.
“M. President, the American people are watching. They are wondering can Congress still work. If we can actually come together and reach common ground—even on something as fundamental as funding the government.
“They don’t want to see grandstanding or chaos—they want to see results.
“And the vast majority of this body wants to show them that we take this job seriously, that we take their problems seriously—which the Senator from Maine and I greatly appreciate.
“So I hope the few holdouts who are now keeping us from moving forward and reaching an agreement so we can line up amendments and votes will see reason, and let us show the American people Congress is still capable of working in good faith to help people and solve problems—just like they sent us here to do.”
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