09/18/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2023 16:22
Washington, D.C. - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the need to pass bipartisan appropriations legislation and fund the government. Below are Senator Schumer's remarks, which can also be viewed here:
The lesson of the past few years has been that bipartisanship is key to getting things done in the Senate, even in these divided times.
A few months ago, bipartisan majorities in both chambers passed an agreement on appropriation toplines for the fiscal year of 2024, and avoided a catastrophic default, which would have been so damaging to America.
Since then, Senate appropriators - led by Chair Patty Murray and Vice Chair Susan Collins - have drafted legislation honoring this bipartisan agreement. It took months of work and a lot of compromise, but all 12 appropriations bills have made it through the committee - all of them bipartisan and many with unanimous support. Nobody got everything they wanted, but disagreements did not stymie progress.
So again, bipartisanship is getting things done. That has been proven over and over again in recent years.
But the reverse is also true. When a small band of Senators chooses partisanship over progress - when they mimic the chaos of the House Freedom Caucus - it threatens the good work of this chamber.
That's what happened last Thursday, when one Senator's objections prevented us from moving forward with the appropriations process.
One member, mimicking the House Freedom Caucus, has derailed the Senate and prevented us from considering amendments, including Republican amendments.
It's a reminder that in both chambers, a small band of hard-right Republicans are dead set on grinding down the gears of government. For these MAGA Republicans, it's as if gridlock is a virtue and cooperation a crime.
I ask this small group of Senate Republicans: what happened to wanting to do appropriations bills through regular order?
We have said we would allow amendments, we have put a minibus on the floor with the cooperation and guidance of Senate Republican appropriators.
These stunts, by this very small band, only serve to undermine regular order in the first place and fly in the face of what our Republican colleagues have asked us to do.
That is the danger of MAGA extremism: it is incapable of governing. It only produces chaos. It's so bad that last week, MAGA extremists in the House prevented even a defense bill, even a defense bill, from moving forward.
It's a scary pattern we're seeing emerge within some on the hard right: extremism at all costs, even at the cost of our national defense.
I urge my Republican colleagues to resist and reject these hardline attempts to derail the Senate's work. A great majority of Senators from both parties want to see us move forward.
In the coming days, I'll work with my colleagues on getting the appropriations process back on track, so we can finish processing these appropriations bills and get us one step closer to funding the government. Because we all know if the government shuts down, it will hurt millions and millions and millions of Americans who did nothing wrong.