Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Leahy Calls On Congress For Bipartisan Budget Deal

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, Nov. 21, 2017) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday renewed his call for a bipartisan budget deal that would allow for real investments in the American people.

Leahy said: “With just 17 days until the current continuing resolution expires and the threat of sequestration looming in January, our toughest path remains ahead.  We must come together to reach a bipartisan budget deal that allows for an increase in both defense AND non-defense spending to alleviate the devastating consequences of sequestration on our domestic priorities and military readiness.  I look forward to working with Chairman Cochran and leadership on both sides of the aisle in accomplishing that goal.”

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), discretionary programs are recklessly slashed by $2 trillion under post-sequestration budget cuts.  The resulting cuts have already taken their toll on everything from the readiness of U.S. armed forces, to millions of families not receiving heating assistance, and drastic cuts to federal investment in job training and employment programs.  The consequences of these cuts will be felt for a generation or more.   

Unless a budget deal is reached, the BCA would demand another $5 billion in cuts from fiscal year 2017 funding levels -- $2 billion from defense and $3 billion from non-defense discretionary funding. The Chairman’s mark for defense appropriations released Tuesday exceeds the spending caps by $70 billion and if enacted will trigger across the board spending cuts of more than 13 percent for defense programs on January 15 unless a bipartisan budget agreement is reached.  

In July, Leahy offered a proposal that would increase defense spending in fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above post-sequester spending caps, mandated by the Budget Control Act, and provide an equal increase in non-defense programs – a budget and policy approach known as “parity.”  Committee Democrats offered a series of funding amendments to each appropriations bill to spotlight the investments in the American people that could and should be made under this proposal. 

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CONTACT: Jay Tilton  -- 202-224-2667