Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to quickly pass the omnibus funding package to invest in the American people, send much needed aid to the people of Ukraine, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and much more. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last night, the House of Representatives passed the strongest, boldest, and most significant government funding package we’ve seen in a very long time, bringing us one step closer to fully funding the government for the 2022 fiscal year.
Now, as we all know, funding the government is a basic responsibility of Congress, but rarely does this responsibility arrive at such a critical moment for our country and for the world. War has erupted in Europe and Americans are looking to relief from rising costs, and this package is critical for facing these challenges.
After weeks of hard work, I am pleased to report that this bipartisan funding package represents a robust and unapologetic investment in the American people: it will give our troops a raise, provide more money for schools and Head Start Programs and Pell Grants, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, fund the President’s cancer moonshot, and open the floodgates for funding the Bipartisan Infrastructure law.
This funding bill is overflowing with very good things for our troops, for American jobs, for our families, and for America.
Once this bill arrives at the Senate, Republicans must work with Democrats to pass the bill as soon as possible, hopefully tonight. There is every reason in the world to believe that we can arrive at a path forward quickly.
For one, the people of Ukraine need our immediate help, and this omnibus is the quickest and most direct way of getting them the help fast. At nearly $14 billion, Congress will approve more than double—more than double—what the Administration originally requested for Ukraine aid and that is a huge accomplishment.
We took the President’s original request for Ukrainian aid, examined it, and added to it, and I can confidently say every last penny of this aid package will be money much needed and well spent.
It will provide food, medicine, shelter, support for over two million refugees, and resources for Ukraine’s ruined economy.
It will also inject billions into military assistance: it will enable weapons transfers like Javelins and Stingers, it will reassure and strengthen NATO, and add teeth to our defenses against Russia’s malicious cyber warfare.
And to every corrupt Russian oligarch that has dined off Putin’s regime for years: beware. This package will increase the government’s tools for hunting you down and holding you accountable.
The Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives and fighting for the survival of their young democracy; Congress has a moral obligation to stand behind them as they resist the evils of Vladimir Putin and his campaign of carnage.
The 2022 government funding bill is one way we’re keeping that promise and for that reason alone it should pass the Senate as quickly as possible.
But on the home front, as I already mentioned, there's lots of important things. This package increases investments across nearly every single domestic priority – very much needed. I’m particularly thrilled to say that after nearly a decade of false starts, this package will finally reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which I originally helped write and pass when I was a congressman back in 1994.
Unfortunately, this very-needed, important bill to protect those who are abused has languished in limbo for far too long. VAWA is one of the most important pieces of legislation of the past 30 years, and once it’s reauthorized it will once again provide life-saving support for countless women who face sexual assault and domestic abuse. I thank Senators Feinstein, Durbin, Ernst, Murkowski — and all the co-sponsors—bipartisan, for helping bring this law back to life.
Now of course, nobody argues that this package is perfect. I am deeply disappointed — deeply disappointed — that the Administration’s request for more COVID funding failed to make it into the House bill, but we’re going to keep fighting to make sure we get that money approved as soon as possible.
COVID funding right now is all about being prepared: it will provide funding for vaccines and therapeutics and testing, which means it will be much easier to keep schools open, to keep businesses open and keep life closer to normal than it was during Delta and Omicron.
So we will keep working on COVID relief. It is very much needed.
Now, we are not over the finish line yet, but I want to thank appropriators form both sides of the aisle, bipartisan, for putting this package together, never an easy task. I especially thank Chairman Leahy for his leadership and his counsel over the course of this process. And I thank Ranking Member Shelby as well—and my House colleagues too—for working in good faith to make this bill possible.
It has not been easy to draft this truly robust package, but after years of needless chaos and uncertainty under Donald Trump, this year Congress has been able to work together on a bipartisan basis to fund the government in a serious way.
Now, the Senate must follow through in finishing the job by approving this bill quickly and sending it to the President’s desk.