FACT SHEET: Murray Details How FY25 Spending Caps Mean Painful Shortfalls for Essential Domestic Programs, Calls for More Nondefense Funding


Senator Murray: “Congress needs to decide—do we want a stronger America?”


Senator Murray underscores insufficiency of FRA’s 1% increase for domestic programs in FY25 after nondefense funding was effectively frozen in FY24; calls for increase in nondefense funding


***READ: Senate Appropriations Committee fact sheet on FY25 spending caps and implications for vital nondefense programs***


***WATCH and READ: Senator Murray’s floor speech detailing how important nondefense funding is to families’ pocketbooks and wellbeing, communities’ safety, America’s future, and so much else***


Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released a fact sheet detailing how the spending caps imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) hold America back—undercutting our economy, competitiveness, and future—and present particularly acute challenges for all manner of essential nondefense programs people count on every day.


Senator Murray also took to the Senate floor to lay out how important nondefense discretionary (NDD) funding is to families’ wellbeing, people’s safety, and our country’s competitiveness and future—and to underscore the need for Congress to provide more than the 1% increase in nondefense funding provided for by the Fiscal Responsibility Act in FY25.


“The FRA caps for FY24 are already causing serious pain and serious challenges, and the caps for FY25 are grossly inadequate,” Senator Murray said on the Senate floor, noting that the FRA effectively froze nondefense funding in FY24 while increasing defense funding by nearly $30 billion. Under the FRA, funding for defense and nondefense alike is set to increase by just 1%.


“I can’t emphasize enough that, under the caps for nondefense, everything struggles to keep up with rising costs,” said Senator Murray. “So, to me, the path for the Senate is clear: we have got to provide additional resources beyond the caps to address major shortfalls and new challenges.”


As detailed in the fact sheet, a 1% increase for nondefense in FY25 does not come close to keeping pace with inflation and rising needs—or meet a host of new challenges. After nondefense funding was effectively frozen in FY24, a 1% increase for nondefense funding doesn’t mean treading water—it means painful tradeoffs and cuts, underinvestment in our nation’s future, and the prospect of cuts to key services for the American people.


“Nondefense discretionary funding has been consistently underfunded and is a constant target for cuts by House Republicans, as we’re seeing right now. I am here to say: enough is enough,” continued Senator Murray on the floor. “If we keep cutting, stretching, and shortchanging these programs, something is going to snap—something important. But more cuts is exactly what a one percent cap actually means. Not ‘treading water.’ Not ‘keeping up’—a one percent cap means pain. It means we let families down. It means we let competitors get ahead. It means we leave our nation vulnerable. That’s not politics—it is just cold, hard math. One percent is not enough to keep up with rising costs, growing needs, and new challenges.”


In her remarks, Senator Murray talked about how a 1% increase in nondefense funding fails to meet this moment—highlighting just a few examples of how a 1% increase falls short and what it would mean for families and our country’s future:

  • WIC: “Here’s what one percent means in practice: one percent means letting families go hungry. WIC, a literal lifeline for nearly 7 million mothers and babies—is going to need a nearly 10 percent increase next year. Anything less will force us to choose which moms and babies are getting the food they need and which are getting put on waitlists.”
  • People’s Safety: “One percent means losing law enforcement. The FBI already can’t fill about a thousand open positions because of what happened in FY24. At one percent in FY25, it would have to trim another thirteen hundred positions—that’s far fewer agents going after transnational criminal organizations, fentanyl traffickers, violent crime, cyber attackers, and so much more. Meanwhile, DOJ would have to lose or freeze nearly five thousand positions. We are talking attorneys and agents that defend our civil rights, prosecute dangerous criminals, and keep our nation safe.
  • Rural Housing: “One percent means we are letting rural families lose their homes. We need a 5 percent increase for rural rental assistance alone. Falling short means thousands of rural families will lose assistance, and may face eviction. How is that right?”
  • American Innovation: “It means falling behind on innovation—when we should be leading the way! You know how much the Chinese government is increasing their research and development spending this year? Ten percent. Ten! How do we expect to compete at one? We authorized some truly transformative programs and funding levels in the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, but that doesn’t matter if we don’t also provide bipartisan investments that live up to our ambitions. The FRA has already forced us to fall short, and without more nondefense funding, it will force us to fall behind the Chinese government.”
  • Lifesaving Medical Research: “One percent means we are blunting momentum for lifesaving biomedical breakthroughs. NIH is looking at a $280 million shortfall as Cures Act funding tapers off. That absolutely cannot be filled with a one percent bump. And that’s on top of the $678 million in NIH Cures Act funding that already expired last year—that we couldn’t make up for because of the caps. There are countless patients who would be devastated to hear that totally arbitrary spending caps are stifling research that could save their life.”
  • Tackling Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Crises: “One percent means no major new funding for the opioid and mental health crisis.”
  • Help with Social Security: “It means longer wait times for seniors and people with disabilities who need help with their Social Security benefits.”
  • Ceding Ground to Adversaries: “It means letting adversarial governments fill the void in global politics and influence, failing to counter an aggressive Putin in Russia and allowing partners to succumb to economic coercion from Beijing, and withdrawing from the world stage to let competitors set the international norms that impact our safety and economic strength.”
  • Head Start:It means fewer kids in Head Start, which is facing a severe staffing shortage.”
  • Consumer Safety: “It means laying off meat inspectors and consumer product safety workers.”
  • Firefighters: “One percent means slashing pay for federal firefighters. Any family whose house has been threatened by one of the many devastating wildfires in recent years will tell you: firefighters are not an optional expense! But over a quarter of the Forest Service’s wildland firefighting jobs are vacant, and unless we provide funding to save our firefighters from a pay cut, these vacancies will only get worse. This is the very definition of a ‘must have,’ not a ‘nice to have’ kind of investment.”


Top lawmakers and leading Republicans have already proposed major increases for defense funding in FY25—as much as $55 billion above the FRA’s defense cap in FY25 alone. Senator Murray reiterated that the FRA’s caps pose serious challenges for defense, as well—but as Congress works to address those challenges with increased defense funding, it must also increase nondefense funding.


“Parity is not new—and it is not some antiquated concept, either,” said Senator Murray. “It is as relevant today as ever. I think we can all agree that: making sure planes can fly safely overhead, making sure we invest in R&D as the Chinese government spends ten percent more, making sure our kids don’t go hungry—is not some second-order priority. So we cannot shortchange either side of the ledger.”


Senator Murray also noted that she is ready and looking forward to working with her colleagues on a bipartisan path forward to address the funding challenges in FY25—and announced she plans to hold the first markup of the Senate’s FY25 funding bills the week of July 8: “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to make sure we meet this moment, take the concerns that we are hearing about back home, and write and pass strong, bipartisan Senate Appropriations bills.”