Senate Approps. Vice Chairman Leahy Statement On The Motion To Proceed To The Continuing Resolution

In a few moments we will vote on the motion to proceed to H.R. 8337, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and other Extensions Act of 2020.  I urge all members to vote aye. 

This bill provides funding for the government through December 11 at fiscal year 2020 funding levels and under the same terms and conditions contained in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations laws.  It also includes several authorization matters to extend programs that otherwise would expire, including important health and veterans programs. 

While I support this bill, I am very disappointed that it is needed at all.  We had ample time in the Senate to complete our work on the twelve appropriations bills, yet we did not mark up a single bill.  We had ample time in the Senate to consider appropriations bills on the floor, but the Majority Leader was more interested in confirming extreme, right-wing judges than moving any legislation to addresses the needs of the American people, including appropriations bills or critical legislation to combat the COVID virus and its impact on families and the economy.

Today, not only are we conceding that we cannot do our most basic job of completing appropriations bills on time, we have failed to address an unprecedented health and economic crisis for months.   Last week, more than 870,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in this pandemic.  Kitchen cabinets across the country are bare as families struggle without enough to eat.  Schools do not have enough resources to teach our children at home or protect them inside the classroom.  This is infuriating.  Republican leadership and the President have cast aside the desperate needs of the American people in favor of government on autopilot.  They are more concerned with securing a hyper-partisan Supreme Court than the health and safety of the American people or doing the most basic job of Congress.  It’s that simple.   

I will have more to say about the continuing resolution in the coming days as we move toward final passage.  But the last thing our country needs is a government shutdown in the middle of a global pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis.  So I urge all members to vote aye on the motion to proceed. 

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