Murray Warns of Devastating Implications of a Full-Year CR, Calls on House Republicans to Get Back to Bipartisan Spending Agreement So Congress Can Pass Funding Bills
In speech on Senate floor, Murray underscores how Speaker Johnson’s backup spending plan to pass a date-change, full-year continuing resolution would be devastating for families, jeopardize our national security, and undermine our country’s future
With next funding deadline just weeks away, Murray urges House Republicans to get back to the spending deal they negotiated: “When you negotiate a deal, you don’t then bargain over how much of your word you are going to keep. Deals are built on common ground and mutual trust—not shifting sand.”
Date-change, full-year CR would mean tens of billions of dollars less for defense and non-defense funding alike
***WATCH: Senator Murray’s speech***
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor responding specifically to Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s unprecedented suggestion that: “If you can't get the final bills finished under this timeline, with good conservative wins, then we're just going to go with the most painful version of a full year CR.”
Senator Murray spoke at length about just how devastating and senseless a date-change, full-year Continuing Resolution (CR) would be, and she once again urged Speaker Johnson to get back to the spending agreement he voted for so that Congress can begin its work to pass bipartisan, full-year spending bills ahead of the next fast-approaching funding deadline.
“A date-change, full-year CR as proposed by House Speaker Johnson, would be unprecedented and reckless,” said Senator Murray. “The Speaker’s proposal would lock in outdated spending plans and devastating across-the-board cuts while locking all of us out of any kind of thoughtful decision-making process for our nation’s future, all of which should be unacceptable to everyone here.”
The date-change, full-year CR that Speaker Johnson is proposing as a backup for FY24 spending bills would be unprecedented and would be devastating for families in every zip code, for our national security, and for our country’s future. For defense spending, the Speaker’s proposal would mean tens of billions of dollars less than the toplines agreed to under the bipartisan budget agreement. For domestic programs (excluding VA medical care), a date-change, full-year CR would mean as much as a 9.4% cut—meaning more than $70 billion in cuts to vital domestic programs that help families put food on the table, keep our communities safe, and help our country running and competitive.
Importantly, the Speaker’s proposal would also mean that across agencies, new initiatives, services, and programs would be put on pause. All the critical new funding and policies the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced with overwhelming bipartisan support across all twelve FY24 spending bills would also vanish.
“It’s one thing to have short-term CRs so we have additional time to negotiate on a good faith basis and finish passing full-year bills that strengthen our nation, but it is another thing entirely to do a year-long, CR because we have no intention of doing our job,” warned Murray. “We are talking about missing opportunities on issues where the clock is ticking, pulling the rug out from families who are struggling, and undermining our national defense and security in front of the whole world.
“I think we all understand now is a dangerous time to signal America’s global leadership is faltering, but that is exactly the message a year-long CR will send…When we put our government on autopilot, we are telling the world Congress is asleep at the wheel, and incapable of responding to the growing threats of an ever more dangerous world,” said Senator Murray.
Among much else, Senator Murray noted that a 9.4% across-the-board cut to domestic programs would be devastating: “The Fiscal Responsibility Act would force absolutely devastating, across-the-board cuts on virtually all domestic programs—that could be as much as a nearly 10 percent cut. Let’s be clear about the damage here: Immediate hiring freezes and furloughs at just about every agency, millions of women and kids losing WIC benefits, wait times at ports of entry would quadruple…nearly one thousand fewer full-time food safety inspectors…less staff and equipment for our federal firefighters…five thousand scientists, students, and technical staff no longer receiving research support at our national labs and universities…nearly seven hundred thousand households losing federal housing assistance—and pushed toward homelessness.”
“And that is truly just the tip of the iceberg,” Murray said of the domestic spending cuts. “We’re talking tens of billions of dollars slashed—to programs that keep our country competitive, our economy strong, and our families safe and sound.”
Murray made clear that the path forward is for House Republicans to return to the spending deal they pressed for and negotiated in the first place.
“This is really no run-of-the-mill CR outcome—which would be bad enough as it is,” said Senator Murray. “We have to come together, do the hard work of governing, and hammer out bipartisan spending bills that actually reflect what we think our nation needs. That starts with getting back to the bipartisan spending agreement House Republicans wanted—and agreeing extreme partisan riders have no place in our spending bills.”
“But we need House Republicans to hold up their end of the bargain here,” continued Senator Murray. “That means sticking to the entire agreement—and using the full resources it provides—for defense and domestic programs. We can’t move forward if House Republicans are busy trying to go back on their word—especially for a deal they pushed for and negotiated in the first place. When you negotiate a deal, you don’t then bargain over how much of your word you are going to keep. Deals are built on common ground and mutual trust—not shifting sand.”
Senator Murray’s full remarks, as delivered, are below:
“Thank you, M. President.
“We have a lot of work to get done before January 19th, the next deadline to pass funding and avoid a shutdown.
“The American people are looking for serious leadership—and results.
“And I come to the floor to be clear about what the standard for success is here.
“We need to pass regular, full-year funding—based on the bipartisan spending agreement from earlier this year—that actually responds to the challenges before us.
“Anything less means missing critical opportunities and worse.
“A date-change, full-year CR as proposed by House Speaker Johnson, would be unprecedented and reckless. Why is that?
“Well, because the Speaker’s proposal would lock in outdated spending plans and devastating across-the-board cuts while locking all of us out of any kind of thoughtful decision-making process for our nation’s future, all of which should be absolutely unacceptable to everyone here.
“It’s one thing to have short-term CRs so we have additional time to negotiate in good faith, and finish passing full year bills that strengthen our nation.
“But it is another thing entirely do a year-long, CR because we have no intention of doing our job.
“We cannot just throw up our hands, act like nothing in the world has changed in the past twelve months, abdicate our responsibility to our constituents, and box in our nation’s future by putting the government on autopilot.
“When you put the government on autopilot without direction or any consideration of changing needs, you are functionally causing year-over-year funding cuts—without any rhyme, reason, or recalibration for new and changing priorities, causing huge uncertainties and inefficiencies across our federal government, and seriously impairing every single one of our agencies’ abilities to fulfill their missions and move our country forward.
“And that by the way is all before taking into account the incredibly steep across-the-board cuts that would come into play under this scenario under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“This runs way deeper than numbers—at best—stagnating on a page, and agencies cutting hardworking staff and crucial services.
“We are talking about missing opportunities on issues where the clock is ticking, pulling the rug out from families who are struggling, and undermining our national defense and security in front of the whole world.
“I think we all understand now is a dangerous time to signal America’s global leadership is faltering, but that is exactly the message a year-long CR will send: a year of America’s military falling behind and a year of our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts falling behind!
“When we put our government on autopilot, we are telling the world Congress is asleep at the wheel, and incapable of responding to the growing threats of an ever more dangerous world.
“In practical terms for Defense, as my colleague—the senior Senator from Maine and Vice Chair of the Committee—said here on the floor recently, it means the Pentagon freezing 330 new programs or production increases.
“It means falling behind in building ours ships, subs, and much more—and doing so by the way at a time when China already has a larger navy.
“It means essentially no new progress in our efforts to strengthen our military and diplomatic footprint in the Indo-Pacific so we can forge strong partnerships, and deter aggression from the Chinese government.
“This is something we devoted significant thought and resources to across our bipartisan spending bills with new funding for our Indo-Pacific strategy, and the Countering PRC Influence Fund.
“Not to mention other global leadership investments like the new Economic Resilience Initiative that will help strengthen our supply chains for critical resources, and weaken the financial pressure our competitors can exert on key U.S. partners.
“But all that goes out the window with a full-year CR, particularly under the construct that has been proposed by the Speaker of the House, where he would simply change a date and quit!
“Change a date and quit.
“Can you imagine a leader—one of the highest ranking officials in this country, if not the world—seriously proposing that as an answer right now?
“Under the year-long CR we would not have critical funding increases to support our servicemembers, to support their families, from troop readiness essentials like recruitment and training, to family support like child care, and barracks, to other projects, like the shipyard infrastructure optimization plan.
“And I also want to remind our colleagues a full-year CR would not just hurt our national security—it would be devastating for families and communities across the country—and our country’s future!
“When it comes to keeping our economy strong, there are simply too many missed opportunities to even list.
“We would lose out on increases bolstering trade and U.S. business competitiveness, we would lose out on strengthening our supply chains, and building innovation hubs.
“We would lose out on research funding for manufacturing, AI, agriculture, clean energy, cures and treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s, and other terrible diseases, and a lot more.
“We would lose ground in our plans to send Americans back to the moon—while the Chinese government is going full speed ahead.
“And when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic, resigning our nation to a year-long CR means the increased investments that we did we include in our Senate bills to keep fentanyl out of our country by stopping drug cartels, and get help to patients and families don’t happen!
“Instead, stagnant funding means furloughs at our borders, and thousands of pounds of illicit drugs reaching our communities.
“A CR also won’t include any funding to reform cosmetics safety, or retirement security, or the organ donation and transplant system.
“And, let’s talk about WIC.
“WIC is the lifeline for moms who need formula, nutritious food, and other essentials to feed their babies.
“It is at risk of being severely underfunded by a CR.
“I grew up in a family that knew what it meant to fall on hard times and have a government that had our backs.
“I will not let our country pull the rug out from folks in their time of need.
“But if we put spending on autopilot for the next year—we will be kicking struggling families off benefits and onto waitlists.
“And it’s not just WIC that is going to see a painful shortfall, that ultimately hurts families.
“It is programs that keep families warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and safe from extreme temperatures, like LIHEAP.
“It is programs that get people health care, like community health centers, and the new suicide prevention lifeline.
“It is programs that make sure families have a roof over their head, rental assistance, affordable housing, homelessness prevention—programs that already can’t meet the needs in their communities!
“It is the Social Security Administration for crying out loud! A CR could force them to reduce hours and lay off staff.
“You want to call and sign up for new benefits or see how you can fix a problem? No one to answer you, long wait times.
“And let’s not forget—it is programs for folks trying to improve their situation, get a better job, and further their career.
“A CR means no increases for apprenticeship funding, workforce training, or the maximum Pell amount.
“And what else do parents need if they are going to go to work?
“I’ve said it many times—child care.
“We are in a child care crisis—and with a full-year CR, this is only going to go from bad to worse.
“Because we will be resigned to across the board cuts to our nation’s child care programs.
“And our public schools will also face tighter budgets.
“Kids are still recovering from the pandemic—and we can’t afford to provide schools less funding when our students deserve and need more support.
“It’s that simple.
“Look, I know I have been going on for a while now, but the truth is, I have barely scratched the surface on what we will lose with a full-year CR.
“Increases throughout our bills to support tribal communities—gone.
“Over a billion dollars for FAA modernization efforts—gone.
“Housing for wildland firefighters, improvements in in our rail system, next-generation weather satellites—gone, gone, and gone!
“And here’s the kicker: I have only been talking about half the equation!
“Because the Fiscal Responsibility Act would force absolutely devastating, across-the-board cuts on virtually all domestic programs—that could be as much as a nearly 10 percent!
“Let’s be clear about the damage here:
“Immediate hiring freezes and furloughs at just about every agency.
“Millions of women and kids would lose WIC benefits.
“Wait times at ports of entry would quadruple.
“Wait times for new business permits from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would increase fivefold.
“Nearly one thousand fewer full-time food safety inspectors.
“Two thousand five hundred fewer national park employees, and less staff and equipment for our federal firefighters.
“Five thousand scientists, students, and technical staff no longer receiving research support at our national labs and universities.
“One hundred thirty thousand fewer small businesses getting training and counseling from the Small Business Association.
“Nearly seven hundred thousand households losing federal housing assistance—and pushed toward homelessness.
“2.5 million patients across Indian Country hurt by a $235 million cut to the Indian Health Service hospitals and clinics.
“And that is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars slashed to programs that keep our country competitive, our economy strong, and our families safe and sound.
“So this is really no run-of-the-mill CR outcome—which would be bad enough as it is.
“The bottom line here is this: we have a job to do.
“We have a job to do.
“Our constituents expect us to listen to them, to respond to the challenges in their lives, solve our problems, and deliver results.
“At a minimum, they expect us to try. Not threaten, as the Speaker is doing, to change a few words and give up.
“A long-term CR wouldn’t just shut out their voices, it would cede ground to our adversaries, let America fall behind, and cut off vital resources families count on each and every day.
“If we want to make sure America continues to lead, if we want a strong competitive economy, if we want a safer world, if we want a real future for our families, we can’t just throw our hands up, and hope for the best.
“We have to come together, do the hard work of governing, and hammer out bipartisan spending bills that actually reflect what we think our nation needs.
“Now that starts with getting back to the bipartisan spending agreement House Republicans wanted—and agreeing extreme partisan riders have no place in our spending bills.
“In the full Senate here, we wrote 12 bipartisan bills that follow the full terms of the bipartisan spending agreement.
“But now we need House Republicans to hold up their end of the bargain here.
“And that means sticking to the entire agreement—and using the full resources it provides—for defense and domestic programs.
“We can’t move forward if House Republicans are busy trying to go back on their word—especially for a deal they pushed for and negotiated in the first place!
“Because let’s all remember, House Republicans were the ones who chose to hold the debt limit hostage until they secured this agreement!
“Let’s also remember it was their leader who negotiated this deal directly with the President. They cut this deal.
“When you negotiate a deal, you don’t then bargain over how much of your word you are going to keep.
“Deals are built on common ground and mutual trust—not shifting sand.
“M. President, I’ll be clear, I am not calling on Republicans to do anything extreme here, or anything I wouldn’t do myself.
“I get that no one ever gets everything they want, especially in divided government.
“In fact, I have said many times I believe the cuts enacted by the Fiscal Responsibility Act set us back.
“But that was the deal, that was the deal we voted on.
“So here in the Senate we wrote 12 bipartisan bills to those terms.
“That’s the job. That is what legislating looks like in a divided government.
“And if we are going to avoid an unnecessary shutdown, or an absolutely unacceptable, inflexible, year-long CR—for the first time ever, we need everyone to get real about just what is at stake if we give up on writing serious, full year funding bills.
“And just what it’s going to take to get that done.
“So I call on everybody: let’s do our job.”
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