Shelby Opposes Procedural Motion on Appropriations Bills
WASHINGTON, DC, Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor regarding his decision to oppose the motion to proceed to consideration of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. The full remarks of Senator Shelby’s speech are as follows:
“Mr. President, I thank the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee for moving ahead to complete action on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.
“This is the first bill reported by the Appropriations Committee to be considered on the Senate floor.
“It is important that Congress exercise its Constitutional authority over the funding of government. If we do not pass appropriations bills, the undesirable outcome is a government shutdown.
“The Senate, however, is still on a precarious path.
“The Majority is pursuing a top-line discretionary spending level of $1.058 trillion for Fiscal Year 2014. This exceeds the Budget Control Act level by over $90 billion.
“The Budget Control Act is the law that establishes and enforces, through sequestration, limits on discretionary spending.
“In Fiscal Year 2013, most discretionary programs were forced to take arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. We did not have to go in that direction for Fiscal Year 2014.
“Over a month ago, all Republican members of the Appropriations Committee signed a letter to Chairwoman Mikulski calling for a top-line number of $967 billion that complies with the law.
“There could have been an alternative to sequestration. The Appropriations Committee could have written spending bills that adhere to the budget constraints of the law.
“This would have allowed Congress, not an indiscriminate formula, to make spending cuts of its choosing and to establish priorities.
“This level would have also given Senate and House Appropriators a better chance to conference individual bills. Instead, several of the appropriations bills between the two Chambers are so far apart that aligning them would be difficult, if not impossible.
“Regrettably, because of this disagreement, the endgame will probably be a continuing resolution.
“Every year that we have a continuing resolution, or a series of them, is another year that we drift further away from regular order.
“In addition, even a continuing resolution for 2014 based on this year’s discretionary spending would require another sequester under the Budget Control Act.
“Given the direction we are headed, I will vote against all appropriations bills that adhere to a total of $1.058 trillion. It is not because the bills are entirely unworthy of support. It is because they will ultimately lead us to a statutory dead end and erode the ability of Congress to control how the government is funded.
“Therefore, I also intend to oppose the Motion to Proceed, not because I don’t think this bill has merit, because, in many ways it does. I will oppose the Motion to Proceed because it will inevitably lead to us, once again, to an impasse that will result in further continuing resolutions and take us further away from any semblance of regular order.
“Thank you, Mr. President.”