Senate Begins Process to Advance First Set of Appropriations Bills
‘They include several of the domestic funding bills along with the legislation to fund the Department of Defense. There should be no reason for Democrats to vote against this first procedural step. As Chairman Shelby and our committee colleagues continue to process Senate legislation, proceeding to this floor action will help to keep us on track toward passing as many of the 12 bills as possible this month before we turn to a temporary continuing resolution.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to fund the government:
“The American people deserve for the federal government to spend their money in a considered, deliberate fashion. And until very recently, we have been on track to conduct a smooth, regular appropriations process for this year. More than a month ago, leaders in both parties, in both chambers, and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue all agreed to terms that had been negotiated by the Speaker of the House and the president’s team. It specified topline funding levels and put guardrails around the appropriations process, to keep out poison pills and all of our other disagreements.
“So yesterday, to keep us on track, I began the process to advance the first set of appropriations bills. The next step is a vote tomorrow to begin consideration of a package of House-passed funding bills that Speaker Pelosi grouped together. They include several of the domestic funding bills along with the legislation to fund the Department of Defense. There should be no reason for Democrats to vote against this first procedural step. As Chairman Shelby and our committee colleagues continue to process Senate legislation, proceeding to this floor action will help to keep us on track toward passing as many of the 12 bills as possible this month before we turn to a temporary continuing resolution.
“So it’s been distressing to hear troubling signals from the Democratic side. We’ve heard they may choose to filibuster the defense funding bill. They may block the very increase in defense funding that they agreed to just last month. Progress on our shared priorities, good-faith cooperation on areas of disagreement, it seems all this may be taking a back seat to a familiar litany of partisan stumbling blocks.
“My Democratic colleagues seem eager to bog down the funding process with all their outstanding disagreements with the president. In other words, exactly the kind of partisan approach that we successfully avoided last year, and which both sides pledged just last month to avoid this time as well. A couple weeks ago, everyone at the table seemed to understand that the world was too dangerous to leave funding for our military vulnerable to poison pill riders or political cop-outs. I wish Democrats would keep bearing that in mind today.
“So whatever rationale my colleagues across the aisle may offer for these new disruptions, let’s get one thing straight: holding defense funding hostage for political gain is a losing strategy. Not only for members of this body, not only for the appropriations process, but a losing strategy for the safety and strength of our nation.
“As partisanship bogs us down here in Washington, Moscow and Beijing are not exactly slowing down to wait for us. Our two most capable great-power adversaries are expanding their own capabilities and modernizing their forces by the day. In the current international system, delivering on our promises to America’s men and women in uniform is not a simple matter of routine maintenance on equipment. If we’d like the U.S. military of the future to remain the world’s pre-eminent fighting force, then the stakes are much higher.
“As Russia rattles its saber and develops weapons like hypersonic cruise missiles and quiet submarines, we need to deliver funding for research and development of our own cutting-edge capabilities. We have to provide for the modernization of infrastructure and update defenses against cyberthreats, so that China’s ever-bolder meddling in this domain cannot bring about the cyber-hegemony it craves. And we can’t turn our back on our interests and partners in the broader Middle East. In Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, and beyond, we face on-going terrorist threats. Iran’s violent aggression certainly highlights the need for vigilance and strength.
“All of this is needlessly more difficult if we don’t do our job and fund the military’s modernization and readiness. The stakes are too high for us to fail. We cannot afford to abdicate our responsibility to deliver timely funding to the critical priorities of the federal government, least of all to the men and women in uniform who keep us safe. So I would urge each of my colleagues to engage in this process, honor our agreement, and keep us on track to deliver for the nation.”
Related Issues: China, America's Military, Appropriations, Russia