Schumer Floor Remarks Urging The Passing Of The Bipartisan Budget Caps Agreement

August 1, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor urging the passing of the bipartisan budget caps agreement. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here. 

Mr. President, in a short time, the Senate will vote on final passage of a bipartisan agreement to lift the budget caps for two years and extend the debt ceiling. It’s an agreement that will strengthen our national security, provide our troops with the resources they need to do a very difficult and often dangerous job. And importantly, it will clear the way for critical investments in America’s middle class and those struggling to get to the middle class: in health care, education, childcare, cancer research, our veterans, and more.

For too long, the arbitrary, draconian limits of sequester have hampered our ability to invest in working Americans and in our military readiness. This deal ends the threat of sequester permanently. That is huge. 

As large forces erode the financial security of the middle class—globalization, automation, technological advancement—one of the only forces large enough to push back on the side of the middle class and help them is the federal government. 

Investing in education, in healthcare, infrastructure, childcare is how we give middle-class Americans greater security, and give Americans struggling to get into the middle class a ladder up, something this government has done for decades and decades, but hasn’t been doing very well when the sequester was in effect. The sequester hamstrung our ability to make investments in the middle class for eight years. No longer. Thank God. 

Not only does this agreement end the sequester, it includes a significant increase in support for domestic priorities. In fact, the budget deal increases domestic budget authority $10 billion more than defense. In the three years of Trump’s presidency and a Republican Senate, Democrats have secured over $100 billion in increases for domestic programs.

That means additional resources for the states to combat the opioid epidemic; support for VA hospitals caring for our veterans; cancer research and other critical medical research that has saved the lives of literally millions; climate and clean energy technology; reducing the burden of college debt; infrastructure and transportation improvements. So this $100 billion is not abstract. It means jobs, it means ladders up, and it means hope for the American people who are often pushed around by forces much larger than themselves.

And finally, this legislation lays the groundwork to avoid another government shutdown and will preserve the full faith and credit of the United States.

As my colleagues know well, the House has already passed this legislation and recessed for the state work period. The president supports it. Reportedly, he’s been calling members to encourage them to vote yes. The final piece to this puzzle is the Senate’s stamp of approval. 

I want to salute Senator Leahy, our ranking member, all the members of the Appropriations Committee, and all of those—on both sides of the aisle—who came up with this agreement.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes. Let’s give our military and our middle class a boost before the Senate adjourns today.