U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

09/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2019 14:09

Shelby Urges Members to Adhere to Budget Deal, Support Essential Funding for Military

09.18.19

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. 2740, the first package of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) spending bills passed by the House of Representatives, which includes measures for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense; Energy and Water Development; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. Chairman Shelby urged his Senate colleagues to honor the terms of the bipartisan budget deal and work together to prevent unnecessary delays in funding for our men and women in uniform protecting us around the globe.

'My Democratic colleagues have said they are opposed to proceeding to this package because we must pass domestic spending bills before we pass the Defense bill. But this package does both. In fact, it accounts for more than 40 percent of domestic spending. And, as I said before, it mirrors the package sent to us by Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House. So this excuse for delaying consideration of this package does not hold water. We need to move the process forward,' stated Shelby.

'Failure to prioritize funding for our national defense would undermine the Pentagon's planning process, hinder our commanders' ability to counter threats to America, and threaten the safety of our nation. That is unacceptable. We have the opportunity to move forward together here today to bolster our national security. We have a framework for success - let's use it. I hope my Democratic colleagues will recommit to the terms of the budget deal. I hope they will set aside partisan politics and do right by our military, the numerous agencies that would receive funding in this package, and our constituents - and let us get on with the business of the people.'

Chairman Shelby's full remarks, as prepared, are as follows:

'I rise to urge my colleagues to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2740, the first package of appropriations bills sent over by the House.

'This package includes the Defense; Energy and Water; Labor, HHS, Education; and State, Foreign Operations appropriations bills.

'My Democratic colleagues have said they are opposed to proceeding to this package because we must pass domestic spending bills before we pass the Defense bill.

'But this package does both. In fact, it accounts for more than 40 percent of domestic spending.

'And, as I said before, it mirrors the package sent to us by Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House. So this excuse for delaying consideration of this package does not hold water. We need to move the process forward.

'I want to make a few points about the Senate versions of these bills that we will bring up if we invoke cloture today.

'Last week, the Appropriations Committee reported the Defense and Energy and Water bills.

'The Energy and Water bill garnered unanimous support.

'My Democratic colleagues similarly praised the bipartisan nature of the Defense bill, yet they voted against it.

'They did so because the bill does not restrict the President's ability to transfer funds to secure our southern border.

'Mr. President, the terms of the bipartisan budget deal govern the FY20 appropriations process.

'They were agreed to by Republican and Democrat Leaders.

'Those terms expressly prohibit restrictions on the President's ability to transfer funds. It's plain as day.

'Our Democratic colleagues may now regret having agreed to these terms, but that does not change the fact that they did.

'I ask unanimous consent to place this term sheet into the record.

'Lack of adherence to the terms of the budget deal also explains why we were unable to mark up the other two bills in this package: Labor, HHS, Education; and State, Foreign Operations.

'Just like the Defense and Energy and Water bills, these bills were crafted in a bipartisan manner.

'Yet some my Democratic colleagues threatened to amend these bills with abortion-related poison pills.

'M. President, poison pills - just like restrictions on transfer authority - are expressly prohibited by the terms of the budget deal.

'Again, both parties agreed to those terms.

'I am interested in moving the appropriations process forward, and I am interested in doing so consistent with the budget agreement.

'That is why the chairmen of the Labor-HHS and State-Foreign Ops subcommittees - Senators Blunt and Graham - have released the versions of the bills that the Appropriations Committee intended to consider last week.

'Both bills were crafted with bipartisan input, and both are free of poison pills.

'We are proud of the work that went into these bills and want to be transparent about how we intend to proceed.

'Before we vote on cloture, I want to remind my colleagues of our shared success last year and our common interest in moving the process forward this year.

'In FY19, together we achieved more success in passing appropriations bills than we had in two decades.

'The lynchpin of that success was an agreement between myself and Vice Chairman Leahy to ban poison pills from appropriations bills.

'Both sides upheld that agreement, and we funded 75 percent of the government on time.

'That is the framework the bipartisan budget deal was modeled after.

'The purpose of the budget agreement is to replicate the success we had last year - to ensure we do not revert to the dysfunctional appropriations process of years past.

'That is why it is so important that we adhere to it now.

'It is all the more important considering what we are trying to fund with this package.

'It contains critical investments not just in health, education, and energy projects; but in national security, our military.

'The situation unfolding in Saudi Arabia should serve as a grave reminder to all of us that we must set aside politics and do our job to provide our military the resources it needs to keep America safe.

'It should also remind us that our main adversaries - China and Russia - never relent in their efforts to destabilize the world. We must do our part to ensure they fail.

'We cannot do that without stable funding for our military.

'Failure to prioritize funding for our national defense would undermine the Pentagon's planning process, hinder our commanders' ability to counter threats to America, and threaten the safety of our nation. That is unacceptable.

'We have the opportunity to move forward together here today to bolster our national security. We have a framework for success - let's use it.

'I hope my Democratic colleagues will recommit to the terms of the budget deal.

'I hope they will set aside partisan politics and do right by our military, the numerous agencies that would receive funding in this package, and our constituents - and let us get on with the business of the people.

'So, again, I urge my colleagues to vote yes on cloture. Let's get to work.'

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