Schumer Floor Remarks On Bipartisan Appropriations Agreement

December 18, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor in favor of the bipartisan appropriations agreement, which secures several important priorities to help American families and our national security. Senator Schumer also called on the president to accept the previous agreements on tax incentives on vehicles to combat the climate crisis and on PFAS drinking water contamination. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here.

Before the week concludes, we must pass legislation to keep the government open and provide appropriations for the following year. Luckily, over the weekend, an agreement was reached between appropriators—House and Senate, Democrat and Republican—that would see us achieve that goal.

I’m proud to report that the final appropriations agreements includes several important Democratic priorities to help American families, to help American security.

Democrats have secured more than $425 million in election security grants, nearly double the amount Senate Republicans reluctantly supported in earlier legislation.

Democrats have secured an increase of $550 million in grants to help offset the cost of childcare for low-income families

Democrats have made progress on several fronts to combat climate change: record-level funding for clean energy and energy efficiency programs; record-level funding to provide clean, electric buses; and increased funding for climate change science and research

And for the first time in decades, Democrats have secured $25 million in gun violence research at CDC and NIH, breaking through what had been a ridiculous ban-on-fact. Another ban-on-fact, now broken because we can do gun violence research.

And medical research, scientific research, environmental protection, education, and housing programs will see significant increases in federal support.

Of course, we did not achieve everything we wanted. I am particularly and strongly disappointed, for one, that the tax agreement included in the second package omits critical clean energy tax incentives to fight climate change—including incentives for electric vehicles, battery storage, offshore wind and solar energy. This is a fight we’ve been waging and we will continue to wage. It’s a fight Democrats intend to return to in 2020 when we negotiate the next tax agreement.

I am also sorely and deeply disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement on a drinking water standard and more resources to clean up PFAS contamination, a toxic chemical that has plagued too many communities in New York and across the country. People on the other side of the aisle should look at these. The president, who was against many of these proposals, should reexamine. We need them.

Senate Democrats, Senator Leahy, the appropriators have done a lot of hard work on this issue. Our disappointment today will in no way diminish our resolve to force Congress to take further action next year, particularly on PFAS and on clean energy.