Senator Murray Remarks Urging Swift Senate Passage of Bipartisan Funding Package


House passed legislation in overwhelming bipartisan 286-134


***WATCH: Senator Murray’s floor remarks***


ICYMI: Murray, Top Appropriators Release Second Funding Package – MORE HERE


ICYMI: Former Preschool Teacher Patty Murray Delivers $1 Billion More to Help Families Find and Afford Child Care & Pre-K – MORE HERE


Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke on the Senate floor urging swift Senate passage of the second six-bill fiscal year 2024 appropriations package that she helped negotiate, which passed the House in an overwhelming 286-134 vote earlier Friday.


Senator Murray’s full remarks, as delivered, are below:


“Thank you, M. President. We are nearing the end of what has been a long, winding, and tough process.


“And I just want to start by thanking everyone who has worked with me to get here. That starts, of course, with my Vice Chair, Senator Collins—who has been a really great partner throughout this process, and I really appreciate it. I also want to thank our counterparts in the House, Chair Granger and Ranking Member DeLauro. And I’d like to thank all of my staff—and the Vice Chair’s—who have worked tirelessly—on these bills; all our incredible subcommittee chairs: Senators Tester, Van Hollen, Murphy, Baldwin, Reed, and Coons; our ranking members: Senators Hagerty, Britt, Capito, Fischer, and Graham; Leaders Schumer and McConnell; and their staffs; and so many others.


“As I’ve said before: this is not the package I would have written on my own, but by working together, we were finally able to hammer out an agreement on funding bills that protect and even strengthen critical investments in our families, in our economy, and in our national security.


“Make no mistake: we had to work under difficult topline numbers and fight off literally hundreds of extreme Republican poison pills from the House—not to mention some unthinkable cuts!


“But at the end of the day: this is a bill that will keep our country and our families moving forward.


“So I want to talk about what is in this package before our final vote.


“And I want to start with something that is a top priority for families and for me: child care, which is far out of reach for so many people right now.


“I will seize every opportunity I can to help families get affordable child care. And in this funding bill—I am pleased to say we increased federal funding for child care and pre-K by a billion dollars and that is not even counting steps I secured to protect the CCAMPIS program that helps young parents who are in college who need child care or double the capacity for the universal pre-K program we have for our servicemembers.


“Ultimately, we need to pass my Child Care for Working Families Act to fix the crisis and make affordable child care a reality for every family.


“But until we get there, I will keep pushing for every inch of progress to alleviate the stress families are feeling when it comes to child care. Can we take steps to help our military families get child care? What about moms who are looking to get a college degree? What bit of progress can we make to help folks?


“These are the questions that motivate my thinking on this issue and many others.


“Like people’s health and wellbeing.


“This package provides crucial health funding. It boosts research funding for cancer, Alzheimer’s, maternal mortality, and more.


“It funds community health centers, local efforts to fight the opioid and mental health crises, and the new federal office of pandemic preparedness that I created with former Senator Burr.


“In the face of House Republicans’ push to gut funding to end HIV and build our public health infrastructure, we protected those vital efforts in this bill.


“And we protected family planning—not just from House Republican efforts to defund Title X entirely—but also from countless far-right proposals to restrict women’s reproductive freedom.


“The American people should know that Democrats stood firm to reject every single one of those.


“We also stood together to make critical investments in education, protecting increases we made to the maximum Pell award in recent years, educator preparation initiatives, and workforce training programs. 


“And we rejected House Republicans’ unthinkable cuts in funding for K-12 schools—which would have reduced funding for nearly 90 percent of school districts and forced teachers out of our kids’ classrooms.


“And, of course, this package does fund our staffs and Capitol Police here in Congress, our election security, and other essential, basic functions of government.


“And then, there are the crucial investments for our national security.


“At a time when Putin is on the march in Ukraine, the Chinese government is growing its influence in an aggressive posture, and the Israel-Hamas war is still raging, American leadership could not be more essential.


“That is why it remains imperative the Speaker finally put the national security supplemental that we passed overwhelmingly up for a vote.


“And it is why this bill also includes investments to promote global stability, keep our country safe, deter conflict, and ensure our military remains the strongest in the world.


“That means investments in diplomacy: maintaining strong ties with our allies, upholding our commitments, forging new partnerships, providing more humanitarian aid, and promoting stability and global health.


“It means investments in defense. And not just funds for new equipment—though that is important—but investments in the men and women in uniform who are our true frontlines of defense!


“This bill provides servicemembers a pay raise. It invests in child care for their kids, like I mentioned earlier. It invests in food security. It strengthens our efforts to prevent suicide and to address sexual assault and harassment in the forces, and more.


“And this bill secured additional visas for brave Afghans who worked alongside our servicemembers during the war in Afghanistan.


“Finally, this package provides critical operational funding for the Department of Homeland Security.


“It is certainly not a perfect outcome, but let’s not forget that Democrats were at the table. We were ready to pass a bipartisan border policy deal until Donald Trump told Republicans to kill that deal.


“But, M. President, in spite of that, the funding in this bill shows we can at least agree, to some extent, that we must not shortchange crucial work stopping fentanyl from reaching our communities, stopping dangerous human trafficking, cracking down on drug cartels, and ensuring our borders are operating safely, efficiently, and humanely.


“Now, M. President, I hope my colleagues will work with me to close the book on FY24, avoid a shutdown, and get this bill passed as soon as possible.


“And then—let’s make sure we all learn the hard lessons from the past few months about how we do get things done in divided government.


“Because what we have seen—at every stage of this process really—is when we work together, when we put our heads down and focus on solutions and listen to our constituents, we can find common ground.


“We can craft bipartisan bills!


“But when House Republicans stopped everything to renegotiate the deal they struck with the President, when they insisted on partisan poison pills, when they listened to the loudest voices on the far right—who, let’s be real, were never going to vote for any bipartisan funding bill—well, that got us nowhere.


“It wasted months of precious time far better spent crafting bills that grow our economy, protect our country, and make things better for folks back home.


“And after all of that delay—how different ultimately was the outcome?


“Think about that, and yet now—here we are—six months into the fiscal year, and agencies will have just six months left to leverage these full-year spending bills.


“M. President, I believe that we negotiated strong bipartisan bills that will help the American people, and this outcome is so much better than a shutdown or a full-year CR which would have had devastating cuts—but it should never have taken us this long to get here.


“We should not teeter on the verge of shutdown, and lurch from one CR to another.


“Agencies should not be dedicating so many resources to preparing again and again for a possible government shutdown.


“Don’t we all agree the Pentagon and NIH have better ways to be spending their time and taxpayer dollars?


“The far-right elements who forced this dysfunction claim to care a lot about fiscal responsibility, but the constant chaos that they create is the opposite of fiscal responsibility.


“The truth is these appropriations bills are written over the course of months, after dozens of hearings, with the input from nearly every member and they reflect the priorities of every state in America!


“Working together, focusing on solutions, solving problems for people back home—that is the responsible way to get things done! And it is—for the most part—how we conducted ourselves in the Senate.


“Vice Chair Collins and I held bipartisan hearings. We gave every Senator an opportunity to weigh in on our bills, and we crafted twelve bills that passed out of committee overwhelmingly, many unanimously!


“And I think we need more of that as we begin work now on FY25 if we are going to keep this process on track.


“So, M. President, as we finally pass this bill, I urge all of my colleagues to really take the lessons of the past year to heart.


“Congress can still work, but only when we come to the negotiating table in good faith and leave politics at the door.


“Now before I turn it over, I’d like to submit into the record a list recognizing our incredibly dedicated staff—the people who truly keep the trains on track, and who poured so many long days and nights of hard work into these bills.”