Shelby Urges Members to Support Domestic Package Without Delay, Pave Pathway to Advance Essential Funding for Military
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today delivered remarks on the Senate floor prior to the procedural vote on whether to consider H.R. 3055, a package of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) domestic spending bills passed by the House of Representatives, which includes measures for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Chairman Shelby urged his Senate colleagues to work together to move the package of domestic appropriations bills and, subsequently, the funding package containing the defense appropriations bill.
“Together, these four measures account for nearly one-third of all non-defense discretionary spending. Consistent with the bipartisan budget agreement, they contain no new poison pills. And, I would caution my colleagues on both sides of the aisle against pursuing poison pill amendments if we are able to proceed today. If we are to make any progress on Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills we must be true to our commitment, enshrined in the terms of the budget agreement, to refrain from such provisions,” stated Shelby.
“I would like to move this package through regular order so we can turn quickly to a second package that funds the military and many more agencies. There is simply no excuse for further delay. … This process only works if we work together. Let’s work together and do our job so we can move forward. Let’s not leave our military and the remainder of the federal government in limbo any longer. This is too important.”
Chairman Shelby’s full remarks, as prepared, are as follows:
“I rise to urge my colleagues to support the pending cloture motion on H.R.3055 so we can get the appropriations process moving.
“It is already day 22 of the current fiscal year.
“The entire federal government is now operating under a continuing resolution.
“And in less than a month, that continuing resolution will expire.
“By this time last year, Congress had already funded 75 percent of the government, including America’s military.
“It was the first time in a decade that Congress had funded the military on time.
“That success paid huge dividends for our country and, in particular, for our men and women in uniform.
“Now, they face an uncertain future.
“The prospect of serial continuing resolutions – or worse, another government shutdown – casts a dark shadow over our previous success.
“Such uncertainty also wreaks havoc on every federal agency’s ability to plan, and it is particularly acute when it comes to the military.
“As our military leaders seek to ensure that planning and operations keep pace with activities around the globe, they are faced with the hard reality that Congress is not keeping pace with its own duties.
“Congress’s failure to do its own job makes that of the military all the more difficult.
“That is unacceptable.
“Nonetheless, we have hit a stalemate in the appropriations process lately.
“The clock is ticking on the continuing resolution, and we have to break through the logjam.
“The only way to do that is through bipartisan cooperation.
“The Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, my good friend Senator Leahy, suggested that the Senate proceed first to a package of domestic spending bills.
“In an effort to demonstrate good faith and get off the dime, that is exactly what we are trying to do here today.
“I want to thank Vice Chairman Leahy for proposing a path forward.
“I would just emphasize to all my colleagues that this path only leads to success if it ends with Congress funding the entire government, not just part of it.
“We have much more work to do.
“Fortunately, we also have before us the opportunity to get it done.
“So here’s where we pick up.
“Last month the Appropriations Committee reported ten bills to the full Senate.
“If we are able to proceed to H.R.3055, it is my intention to offer a substitute amendment that includes four of these, each of which passed unanimously in committee:
“The Commerce, Justice, and Science bill; the Agriculture bill; the Interior bill; and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill.
“I want to thank the Chairs of these subcommittees for their diligence in producing balanced bills: Senator Moran, Senator Hoeven, Senator Murkowski, and Senator Collins.
“I also want to thank their respective Ranking Members for their bipartisan cooperation: Senator Shaheen, Senator Merkley, Senator Udall, and Senator Reed.
“Together, these four measures account for nearly one-third of all non-defense discretionary spending.
“Consistent with the bipartisan budget agreement, they contain no new poison pills.
“And, I would caution my colleagues on both sides of the aisle against pursuing poison pill amendments if we are able to proceed today.
“If we are to make any progress on Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills we must be true to our commitment, enshrined in the terms of the budget agreement, to refrain from such provisions.
“I would like to move this package through regular order so we can turn quickly to a second package that funds the military and many more agencies.
“There is simply no excuse for further delay.
“With all that we ask of our military… With all the challenges it already faces… With all the additional uncertainties that stopgap funding creates… And with all that has been said recently about the need to support our allies and counter our adversaries around the world…
“I hope my colleagues will not say to our men and women in uniform, ‘We’ll get to you later.’
“We should instead capitalize on the good will we are generating on this first package of appropriations bills by immediately moving to the next one that funds the military and so many more agencies.
“Madam President, this process only works if we work together.
“Let’s work together and do our job so we can move forward.
“Let’s not leave our military and the remainder of the federal government in limbo any longer.
“This is too important.”
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