Statement of Appropriations Vice Chairman Leahy On The Continuing Resolution

I am glad that the House introduced a continuing resolution today.  I strongly urge Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate to take it up and pass it as soon as possible.  The last thing our country needs is a government shutdown in the middle of a global pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis.

But make no mistake, the urgent need for this continuing resolution is a symptom of a dysfunctional Congress.  It’s a senseless and entirely avoidable made-in-Washington crisis.  The Senate Appropriations Committee should have been allowed to do its work and complete all 12 appropriations bills months ago.  The majority of these bills would have had strong bipartisan support.  Instead, we are left with a continuing resolution that kicks the can down the road and offers no helping hand to the millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic. 

Today, schools are struggling to safely educate our nation’s children in both the classroom and remotely without enough funding to do so.  Lines at food banks are at historic levels.  Families are struggling to pay rent and eviction moratoriums have expired across the country.  States do not have the money they need to safely carry out an election that is only 43 days away and in the middle of a pandemic.  Without a legislative change extending critical deadlines, our ability to achieve a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census remains at risk.  The American people are suffering. 

It is infuriating that Republicans refuse to acknowledge this reality.  Yet, instead of doing their job and considering and passing full-year appropriations bills and a desperately needed COVID relief bill, Senate Republicans have focused this year almost entirely on packing the courts with right-wing, extreme judges.  Faced with an unprecedented health and economic crisis, does this spur Republicans to action?  No.  What does?  A Supreme Court vacancy in an election year that under their own precedent should not be filled until the American people have their say in November.  All of a sudden they are ready to get to work.  It’s shameful.

Congress is failing the American people because Republicans, led by President Trump, care more about securing a hyper-partisan Supreme Court than the health and safety of the American people.  I am urging Republicans and Democrats to pass this continuing resolution so that we do not fail them further.     

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