Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on legislation to fund the government, expand aid to Ukraine, provide emergency relief aid, reauthorize FDA user fees, and help families to afford heating. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
With a little more good faith negotiation between Democrats and Republicans, I am hopeful that today is the day we’ll finish passing a continuing resolution to fund the government until mid-December. Government funding is set to run out Friday at midnight, roughly 40 hours from now, and there is no reason at all for us to get anywhere near that deadline.
Over the past twenty-four hours both sides have continued holding fruitful negotiations to reach a finish line.
We have some more work to do, a little more, but we are close – close enough that I hope we can finish up today, but both sides need to keep working together for that to happen. I urge both sides to keep going because this CR is filled with many good things both sides can support.
Like $12 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine, to help Ukrainians with more weapons, intelligence-gathering, and aid to keep the government afloat in a time of war. Seven months since the conflict began, it’s crystal clear that American assistance has gone a long way to helping the Ukrainian people resist Putin’s evil, vicious aggression. But the fight is far from over, and we must, we must, continue helping the brave, valiant Ukrainian people.
The CR also includes items like emergency aid to help communities across the country hammered by natural disasters, including flooding in states like Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas, as well as disasters in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and New Mexico, which suffered, New Mexico suffered, its worst wildfires in the state’s history early this year.
Through the CR, we will also reauthorize FDA user fees for another five years, which is vital if we want to avoid any slowdown in the review of new lifesaving drugs and medical devices that millions and millions of people rely on. Reauthorizing these user fees will also prevent thousands of hard-working FDA employees from being furloughed, many of whom are crucial for this life-saving review process.
Finally, by passing the CR we will help millions of families afford their heating and utility bills over the winter, by investing one billion dollars in the LIHEAP program. I want to recognize Senator Jack Reed and Senator Maggie Hassan for making sure we included this funding in the CR, because thanks to their efforts, many families will catch a break this winter by lowering their utility bills.
In short, there is every reason in the world for both sides to get to “yes” on finalizing a CR before the end of today. Democrats will continue working with our Republican colleagues in good faith to find a path to the finish line.
I want to thank our terrific chair of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy, as well as Ranking Member Shelby, for all their hard work on the CR. I hope this is the last CR of Chairman Leahy’s illustrious career because we’re all hopeful that an omnibus will be the last funding bill we will do later this year.
I also want to thank my colleagues on the committee who’ve worked day and night to avoid a shutdown, and their dedicated staffs, and I want to commend Senator Shelby who has worked with Senator Leahy in a very cooperative way as well.
The last thing the American people need right now is a pointless government shutdown. I’m optimistic we’re on track to avoiding one well before the funding deadline. I thank all my colleagues for their good work and their cooperation and encourage them to keep going so we can finish the work later today.