Congress Reaches Bipartisan Government Funding Agreement
‘I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement... The compromise we’ve reached will ensure that, for the first time in years, our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe. It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us. And it will ensure funding for important efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure...'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the bipartisan funding agreement reached by Congressional leaders:
“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement. I want to thank my friend the Democratic Leader for joining me this afternoon, and for the productive discussions that generated this proposal.
“The compromise we’ve reached will ensure that, for the first time in years, our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe. It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us. And it will ensure funding for important efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure, and building on our work to fight opioid abuse and drug addiction.
“This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among Congressional leaders and the White House. No one would suggest it is perfect. But we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people.
“First and foremost, this bipartisan agreement will unwind the sequestration cuts that have hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security. Secretary Mattis said that, quote, ‘no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration.’ For years, my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Chairman McCain, have spoken out about these damaging cuts.
“In the face of continuing and emerging threats, these cuts have left us unable to realize the potential of our missile defense capabilities. They’ve whittled down our conventional forces, laying an undue burden on forward-deployed personnel and their families. And they’ve shrunk our fleet to its lowest ship count in nearly three decades.
“We haven’t asked our men and women in uniform to do less for our country. We have just forced them to make do with less than they need. This agreement changes that.
“In addition, this bill will provide for our returning heroes. Too often, underfunded, over-complicated bureaucracies fail to deliver the care our veterans deserve. The Trump administration and Congress -- thanks to the leadership of Chairman Isakson -- have made important progress for veterans in the past year. This agreement will expand on those steps.
“This agreement will also bolster our ongoing national struggle against opioid addiction and substance abuse. It will fund new grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities across the country.
“It also provides funding for disaster relief efforts. Last year, powerful storms crippled Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and damaged mainland communities from Florida to Texas. Thanks to the efforts of members such as Senators Cornyn, Cruz, Rubio, and others, this bill will get more help on the way.
“And the agreement will clear the way for new investment in our nation’s infrastructure -- a bipartisan priority shared by the president and lawmakers in both parties.
“This bill does not conclude the serious work that remains before Congress. After we pass it, the Appropriations Committees will have six weeks to negotiate detailed appropriations and deliver full funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.
“But this bill represents a significant, bipartisan step forward. I urge every Senator to review this legislation and join us in voting to advance it. I want to thank my friend the Democratic Leader. I hope we can build on this bipartisan momentum and make 2018 a year of significant achievements for Congress, for our constituents, and for the country we love.
“And on one final matter, as I’ve said publicly many times, our upcoming debate on DACA, border security, and other issues will be a process that is fair to all sides. The bill I move to, which will not have underlying immigration text, will have an amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset.
“The amendment process will be fair to all sides, allowing the sides to alternate proposals for consideration and for votes. While I obviously cannot guarantee any outcomes, let alone supermajority support, I can ensure the process is fair to all sides. And that is what I intend to do.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Opioid Abuse, Appropriations, America's Military