Bipartisan Bill Funds Our Troops While Cutting Non-Defense, Non-Veterans Baseline After Inflation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding government funding:
“President Biden’s proposal for fiscal year 2023 was a massive, real-dollar increase for liberal domestic spending and a significant real-dollar cut for the national defense.
“Thanks to tireless work from Senator Shelby and a number of our colleagues, the government funding bill that we’ll be taking up this week does exactly the reverse of what the Biden Administration wanted.
“This bill will significantly grow the baseline for defense and significantly cut the baseline for non-defense, non-veterans, after inflation.
“A big real-dollar increase for the defense baseline, and a big real-dollar cut for the non-defense, non-veterans baseline.
“This is an impressive outcome for the Republican negotiators, and more importantly, it is the outcome that our country needs — to keep helping Ukraine and our other friends; to keep out-innovating and outcompeting Russia and China; and to keep our brave men and women in uniform equipped with the best training, tools, and technologies the world has ever seen.
“The Administration’s original vision for the federal budget — starving defense, while shoveling cash into miscellaneous domestic spending — was so out of whack that Democrats in Congress have joined Republicans in rejecting it.
“Then there was some discussion that Democrats might only agree to make sufficient investments in our Armed Forces if they got to jack up domestic spending even higher, as compensation.
“Of course, that didn’t make any sense either. The Commander-in-Chief’s own political party does not get to take our troops hostage in order to demand even more unrelated goodies.
“Republicans’ position all along was very simple: Defending America and out-competing our rivals is a fundamental governing duty. It is the basic business that we’re supposed to take care of. Not something for which Democrats get special rewards.
“And that’s precisely what is finally happening. Compared to where the negotiations started, we have transferred huge sums of money away from Democrats’ spending wish list, toward our national defense and Armed Forces — but without allowing the overall cost of the package to go any higher.
“Now, there is no question that an omnibus spending bill less than one week before Christmas is not the right way to run the appropriations process or the Senate chamber.
“Things should be done differently. More responsibly. With more foresight and planning.
“And when Republicans controlled the majority, things were done differently, more responsibly, with more foresight.
“When Republicans last controlled both chambers, we worked to conduct a more normal appropriations process. The subcommittees were more empowered to do their work.
“We worked to break things into multiple bills and move minibuses across the floor before the 11th hour.
“Instead, as Republicans spent this whole year calling on the Democratic Leader to prioritize his basic responsibilities like government funding and the NDAA, this majority spent month after month chasing shiny objects while procrastinating on core duties.
“So I share many of my colleagues’ dissatisfaction with the dysfunctional Democrat-run process that’s brought us here.
“But unfortunately, as we stand here today, going back in time and forcing Democrats to spend the last 11 months running the Senate more responsibly is not an option. From where we stand today, there are two options before us.
“Number one: We can pass this bill; give our servicemembers and commanders the resources they need; flip the President’s broken budget request on its head; and actually cut baseline non-defense, non-veterans spending in real dollars while we’re at it.
“Or number two: We can fail to pass this bill and give our Armed Forces confusion and uncertainty while the Chinese Communist Party continues to help their military commanders pour money into new research and weapons.
“Between the two actual options before us, Mr. President, it’s not a close call. The Senate should pass this bill.”