Leahy Statement On The Introduction Of The Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

I am pleased to announce that late last night, I introduced the bipartisan, bicameral, fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill.  This bill invests $772.5 billion in non-defense discretionary programs, including $118.7 billion – a 22 percent increase – for VA medical care, and $858 billion in defense funding.  It provides $44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and our NATO allies and $40.6 billion in emergency funding to assist communities across the country recovering from drought, hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, natural disasters and other matters. 

The pain of inflation is real, and it is being felt across the federal government and by American families right now.  Our bill offers relief, certainty for the operations of the federal government through the fiscal year, and the resources necessary to secure the national defense.  From funding for nutrition programs and housing assistance, to home energy costs and college affordability, this is a strong bill that directly invests in the American people.  It is the product of bipartisan negotiations in line with the framework announced by Vice Chairman Shelby, Chair DeLauro, and myself last week, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support it. 

It fulfills the promise of bipartisan, landmark legislation that we passed this year, and it fulfills our promise to the American people. 

If you voted for the PACT Act to care for our veterans, you should vote for this bill.

If you voted for the CHIPS Act, you should vote for this bill.

If you voted for the Infrastructure law, you should vote for this bill.

If you want to help families deal with the cost of heating, child care, college, and housing, you should vote for this bill.

If you actually want to fund the troops and their families at the levels of the NDAA, you should vote for this bill.

If you want to help the victims of domestic violence, you should vote for this bill. 

If you want to support law enforcement, you should vote for this bill.

I will have more to say about our bill tomorrow, but our choice is clear.  The alternative, a continuing resolution into the New Year, is short-sighted and wholly unnecessary.  It imperils our national security, and it ignores the real pain and consequences of inflation.  Without a clear path forward based on a bipartisan framework, punting on our responsibility to fund the federal government risks a full-year continuing resolution.  Under a continuing resolution, America gets left behind.  This is unacceptable. 

We have a bipartisan bill.  We have a path forward now.  I look forward to continuing to work with my friend, Vice Chairman Shelby, to pass this bill out of the Senate as soon as possible.

I ask unanimous consent that the joint explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 be printed in the Congressional Record. 

I yield the floor.

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