On Senate Floor, Senator Murray Details How Extreme House Republicans Are Pushing a Senseless Shutdown—and Urges Quick, Bipartisan Action to Avert One
***WATCH: Senator Murray’s floor remarks***
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor about the urgent need to avoid a devastating and utterly unnecessary government shutdown by passing the Senate’s bipartisan stopgap measure—and laid out how House Republicans’ extreme tactics and funding proposals have led us to this point, just days away from a shutdown that would hurt millions of public servants, servicemembers, and families—and our entire economy.
“The plain truth I want the American people to recognize is: it did not have to be this way. But a number of House Republicans have been working from day one of this Congress to hold our government hostage, push the most extreme, partisan agenda imaginable, and set us on a collision course for a government shutdown,” said Senator Murray.
During her remarks, Senator Murray noted that one need not take her word for it—extreme Republicans have been crystal clear that they are willing to threaten a shutdown:
- Rep. Bob Good (R-VA): “We should not fear a government shutdown. Most of what we do up here is bad anyway.”
- Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): “If a shutdown occurs, then so be it.”
- Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): A shutdown is “not the worst thing that could happen.”
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): Shutdown “may be what it takes.”
- Former President Trump, who was responsible for the last government shutdown, which was the longest in history: “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN!”
Senator Murray laid out how Speaker McCarthy shook hands on a bipartisan spending deal with President Biden, Congress then passed that legislation, and while the Senate worked off the agreement as it wrote its bipartisan funding bills, the Speaker and House Republicans turned around and proceeded to propose one massive funding cut after the next.
“A deal is a deal. The Speaker and the President shook hands. We all voted on it. It was signed into law. We had an agreement so we could finally get to work writing our bipartisan spending bills—and in the Senate, that is exactly what we did,” said Senator Murray. “But before the ink was dry on the deal he shook hands on, Speaker McCarthy caved to demands from the far right to ignore the agreed-upon spending levels and took a hatchet to programs our families rely on.”
Senator Murray explained that:
- In the Senate, she worked closely with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle and led the Appropriations Committee in writing and passing out of Committee all 12 appropriations bills for the first time in years—and with overwhelming bipartisan support. The full Senate voted resoundingly (91-7) to start work on the first three appropriations bills that passed out of Committee unanimously—and while a few holdouts have slowed things down, she is going to continue working to get these bills across the finish line.
- This week, Senator Murray released a common sense, bipartisan Continuing Resolution in the Senate to keep the government funded and extend vital resources for disaster relief and continue supporting Ukraine at this pivotal moment in its defensive efforts. On Thursday, the Senate voted overwhelming to keep moving forward on the bill.
- Meanwhile, House Republicans have written—and struggled to pass—extreme, partisan funding bills that would result in devastating funding cuts to programs that keep Americans safe and that families rely on each and every day.
- House Republicans have been flirting with shutdown for months and spent much of this week trying to pass their extreme full-year appropriations bills—which would not avert a shutdown.
- Earlier today, Speaker McCarthy released an extreme, dead-on-arrival Continuing Resolution that would decimate funding for domestic programs with an across-the-board 30% cut—immediately slashing funding for everything from NIH research and child care to heating assistance and law enforcement. The CR failed to pass the House of Representatives in a 198-232 vote this afternoon.
- The only path forward is a common sense, bipartisan solution—like the stopgap funding measure the Senate is considering now.
On the floor, Senator Murray spoke about her around-the-clock work to pass the common sense, bipartisan bill she introduced to prevent a shutdown—and discussed Speaker McCarthy’s failed attempt to force devastating cuts with their latest CR today.
“The House isn’t even trying to put together a serious proposal,” said Senator Murray. “So far, Speaker McCarthy seems to be more focused on indulging a few members by writing bills with massive, cartoon-villain-level cuts instead of listening to the American people and avoiding a shutdown. And after wasting time on his partisan bills which will never become law, he tried to jam through a truly extreme CR that would have cut most agencies by 30 percent. As if a 30 percent shutdown isn’t still devastating to our families and economy!”
“As we saw just a while ago, that bill quickly went down in flames. Because it was not bipartisan—and it was not a serious effort to get our communities the funding they need. The lesson here should be obvious. Partisanship is not how we get through crisis—especially in divided government,” continued Senator Murray. “It’s not how we prevent shutdowns. We prevent shutdowns by rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work of talking to each other and hammering out a bipartisan agreement to keep the lights on—and fortunately, we’ve actually done that in the Senate. We have a bipartisan agreement, and we are on our way to sending it to the House as soon as possible.
“It’s not too late for Speaker McCarthy to learn his lesson and do the right thing.”
Senator Murray’s full remarks, as delivered, are below:
“Thank you, Madam President. Americans across the country are watching us now as we near the brink of an entirely pointless, and absolutely devastating government shutdown and wondering: ‘How in the world did we get here?’
“It is a great question—and an infuriating one.
“So, I want to take a few minutes to walk through exactly how we did get here.
“Because the plain truth I want the American people to recognize is: it did not have to be this way.
“But, a number of House Republicans have been working from day one of this Congress to hold our government hostage, push the most extreme, partisan agenda imaginable, and set us on a collision course for a government shutdown.
“And you don’t have to take our word for it—just listen to what some of them have been saying: ‘If a shutdown occurs, then so be it.’ ‘We should not fear a government shutdown.’ It’s ‘not the worst thing that could happen.’ And this ‘may be what it takes.’
“And last week, of course, former President Trump—the same guy responsible for the longest shutdown in history—called for Republicans to shut down the government again.
“And unfortunately, it sure seems like these are the sorts of people Speaker McCarthy has been listening to—the most extreme, fringe voices in his party—when he should be listening to the overwhelming majority of people in our country, who do not want a shutdown.
“Because let’s be clear, most members of Congress—like most Americans—on both sides of the aisle here, in both chambers of Congress, do not want a government shutdown.
“They do want to see us working together to get our jobs done.
“And this is something I’ve heard from so many colleagues of ours when I became Chair of the Appropriations Committee at the beginning of this year. ‘We need to get back to regular order.’ ‘No more omnibuses.’ ‘No more chaos, no more government shutdowns.’ I heard it from across both parties here in the Senate.
“And so, I have been working with the senior Senator from Maine, to deliver on just that to make our Appropriations process work better, to get our bills done, and to ensure all members do have a say in the process. ?
“We’ve made some concrete progress.
“But over and over, extreme Republicans in the House have put up roadblocks and done everything they can to prevent Congress from getting even the most basic things done.
“The Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and I held nearly fifty hearings this past spring to evaluate what resources our communities need in the year ahead.
“But then, instead of being able to get right to work and negotiate topline spending numbers, and writing those bills as we finished those hearings this spring…
“We had to press pause to contend with Extreme Republicans who were then holding the nation’s credit hostage and threatening a devastating default—if they did not get their way with unrealistic, draconian cuts to programs that this entire country relies on.
“It was a full-blown crisis. It was created by extreme House Republicans who ground Congress—and almost our economy—to a halt.
“Finally, after their dangerous brinksmanship caused so much unnecessary drama and delay, President Biden and Speaker McCarthy struck a deal on spending levels that rejected the deepest, most damaging cuts.
“Now it was not a deal I would have written myself—absolutely not.
“But a deal is a deal. The Speaker and the President shook hands. We all voted on it. It was signed into law.
“We had an agreement so we, here in the Senate, could finally get to work writing our bipartisan spending bills.
“And in the Senate, that is exactly what we did!
“The senior senator from Maine and I said: ‘Okay, let’s get things back on track, let’s get back to regular order, let’s write serious bills that can actually be signed into law.’
“And we agreed to work off that Biden-McCarthy deal in a bipartisan way, to avoid partisan poison pills, and give all of our colleagues input on our bills.
“We held televised, bipartisan mark-ups—with amendments, with debate.
“And, for the first time in five years, we passed all 12 bills out of the committee—and those bills passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.
“We then got a resounding 91 votes to start work on three appropriations bills that passed unanimously out of Committee here on the Senate floor. And as we know, a few holdouts slowed things down, but I want you to know we are going to keep working together to return to regular order so members can debate appropriations bills and offer amendments, and we can get them passed.
“Now, compare that to the House.
“Did they work to produce serious, bipartisan appropriations bills that can be signed into law?
“Nope. They wrote extreme partisan bills—extreme—that are not going anywhere.
“Did they keep out provisions they knew would be non-starters?
“Absolutely not. Their appropriations bills are a far-right wish list chock-full of extreme policies that would undermine our response to the climate crisis, embolden bigotry against the LGBTQ community, weaken common-sense gun safety regulations, and of course—of course—impose extreme abortion restrictions.
“I mean, the list of extreme, far-right policies that were slapped onto government spending bills in the House is astounding.
“If you want to get something done for your constituents, you need to get serious—and those bills are not serious.?
“And did House Republicans, at least, stick to the bipartisan toplines that President Biden and Speaker McCarthy agreed to, and we all voted on?
“Not even in the slightest!
“Before the ink was dry on the deal that he shook hands on, Speaker McCarthy caved to demands from the far right to ignore those agreed-upon spending levels and take a hatchet to programs that our families rely on.
“In those spending bills, House Republicans want to cut 80 percent—8-0, 80 percent—that’s $14.7 billion dollars from Title I funding our public schools rely on. It supports nearly 90% of the nation’s school districts.
“And that includes rescinding funding that Congress provided last year that schools have worked into their budgets and are using for this school year.
“They want to cut grants that help keep drinking water safe by more than half.
“They want to slash nearly $4 billion from lifesaving research at the NIH.
“In the middle of a child care crisis, they want to cut Head Start by $750 million dollars and eliminate funding to help states expand preschool programs.?
“I’m just getting started—I could go on all day with the devastating cuts House Republicans have jammed into their partisan spending bills with utter disregard for that agreement that we all passed months ago, and more importantly, for how harmful those cuts would be for folks back home.
“Those cuts would hollow out federal programs and agencies to a point where basic government services that people expect to get done—whether it’s food safety inspectors or air traffic controllers—would almost certainly break down.
“I don’t say all of this, Madam President, to score political points.
“I am laying the facts out to make them plain to the American people who I am sure are as frustrated as I am about how pointless it would be to shut down and how ridiculous it is that we are even at this point today.
“So, here we are—days from a government shutdown—and it is clear the only way Congress can keep the lights on, and avoid a terrible shutdown, is a bipartisan bill to continue funding and keep things open short-term while we work on those full-year bills.
“And the House isn’t even trying to put together a serious proposal to do that!
“Here in the Senate, the senior senator from Maine and I have a simple, bipartisan bill that keeps the government funded so we can continue to work on our full-year appropriations bills. It includes absolutely essential, time-sensitive reauthorizations for the FAA and other agencies, and it extends urgently-needed funding for disaster relief and our allies in Ukraine.
“It is a truly reasonable, bipartisan bill, carefully negotiated.
“And we are working at this very moment with our colleagues to get this over to the House as soon as possible.
“But so far, Speaker McCarthy seems to be more focused on indulging a few members by writing bills with massive, cartoon-villain level cuts instead of listening to the American people and avoiding this shutdown.
“And after wasting all that time on his partisan bills which will never become law, he tried to jam through a truly extreme CR that would have cut most agencies by 30 percent. 30 percent! As if a 30 percent shutdown isn’t devastating to our families and economies! They need to get real!
“If it were to become law, that extreme proposal would have been devastating—for families and for our country.
“Whether it’s the Social Security Administration who is working to get seniors signed up for new benefits or the Department of Education, who is working to process Pell Grants and financial aid for students.
“Those agencies—and so many others—would have had to figure out, this Monday, how to implement a 30 percent across-the-board cut if their bill had passed. This Monday!
“Their bill would grind basic government services to a halt, it would create chaos, and almost certainly make the odds of a recession likely.
“As we saw just a while ago, that bill, fortunately, went down in the House in flames.
“Because it was not bipartisan.
“And it was not a serious effort to get our communities the funding they need.
“So the lesson here should be obvious.
“Partisanship is not how we get through crisis—any of them—especially in a divided government.
“It is not how we prevent shutdowns. We prevent shutdowns by rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work of talking to each other, listening to each other, hammering out a bipartisan agreement to keep the lights on.
“And fortunately, that’s what we’ve actually done here in the Senate.
“We have a bipartisan agreement. We are on our way to sending it to the House as soon as possible.
“Good news—it’s not too late for Speaker McCarthy to learn his lesson and do the right thing.
“So, I hope instead of listening to the likes of former President Trump or the extreme right, and continuing to push a bill like he just did, that failed so badly, the Speaker needs to listen to all of the people who will be hurt by the shutdown—who will miss their paychecks, who will be cut off from health care, and child care, and support they rely on.
“And then, I hope he will commit to bringing up our common-sense CR bill to the floor as soon as possible.
“Madam President, let us get our jobs done. Let’s keep the government open.
“And then, instead of retreating back to partisan extremes, I urge Speaker McCarthy to do what so many of our members on both sides of the aisle here in the Senate have called for, and work together with our colleagues to find common ground and produce serious proposals that will make people’s lives better.
“Politics isn’t a game: sometimes you just choose to do the right thing because you know quite clearly what the right thing is to do.
“Shutting down government is not the right thing.
“Refusing to work in a bipartisan way—and forcing us into a showdown to show certain members of the House Republican Majority that you will fight Democrats—that’s the wrong thing.
“The American people don’t want to see you fight the other party. They want to see you work with your colleagues across the aisle.
“Madam President, that is what we’ve done in the Senate with our 12 bipartisan funding bills.
“And the sooner we take a shutdown off the table, the sooner we can get back to work to pass those 12 bills that fund everything from cancer research, to grants for our farmers, to top-notch medical care for our veterans, and so much more.
“So, Madam President, as I’ve said so many times: let’s help people and solve problems.
“Let’s work together—not against one another.”
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