Committee Republicans Reject Democratic-Led Investments In The American People For Third Week In A Row
WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, July 27, 2017) – Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans Thursday rejected amendments offered by Committee Democrats that would have improved public safety, bolstered economic development and invested in our nation’s infrastructure. The party-line opposition marks the third week in a row Republicans have blocked the Democrats efforts to invest in the American people by increasing both defense and non-defense spending constrained under the Budget Control Act.
Offered by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) last week, Democrats’ have pressed for increasing defense spending in fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above post-sequester spending caps, mandated by the Budget Control Act, and providing an equal increase in non-defense programs – a budget and policy approach known as “parity.” The three amendments rejected Thursday were the latest in a series of funding amendments offered to each appropriations bill to spotlight the investments in the American people that could and should be made under this proposal.
Leahy said: “Simply put, we need to reach a bipartisan budget agreement to lift the irresponsible and reckless caps set in place by the Budget Control Act. We cannot responsibly produce 12 appropriations bills, or finish this process, without such an agreement. Until we reach a bipartisan agreement, Committee Democrats will continue to highlight what this Committee could – and SHOULD -- be doing to invest in the American people.
Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), discretionary programs have been recklessly slashed by $2 trillion under post-sequestration budget cuts. The resulting cuts have 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. If the caps are not met and without a bipartisan budget agreement, the House Republican’s irresponsible proposal will result in a $72 billion (13.2 percent) sequester across all defense accounts in January.
Committee Republicans Thursday rejected a funding amendment offered by Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to increase investments in transportation and housing programs by $7.725 billion. These investments are critical to meeting the nation’s infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic development needs, while also creating and sustaining jobs in communities across the country.
Committee Republicans also rejected a funding amendment offered by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to the CJS appropriations bill that would have increased funding for public safety, created jobs through infrastructure and economic development, and met the constitutional responsibility for funding the Census. The amendment totaled $6.51 billion.
Finally, Committee Republicans rejected the funding amendment offered by Senator Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill that would have increased non-defense spending by $100 million. The amendment would have supported the Government Accountability Office, which generates $112 for every $1 invested in the agency, and safety improvement projects around the capitol complex among other priorities.
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