Defense Authorization Billby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2014-12-12
REID. Mr. President, as I have indicated, we are going to take up
this important government funding bill today. Senator Mikulski, the
Chair of the Appropriations Committee, has performed an extraordinary
service in negotiating this bill. And I think it is fair to give a nod
to Senator Shelby, of course, who has been involved in this. They get
along extremely well and set a good standard for everyone in the
The bill achieves many of our important priorities. It gives the Affordable Care Act the secure financial footing it deserves, gives our military the tools it needs to combat ISIS, it addresses the rape kit backlog, helping police and prosecutors prevent sexual assault, it increases funding for students' loans, ensures that the President's Executive action in protecting families can move forward, and it provides funding to fight the Ebola epidemic.
There are lots of other things in it. I have just hit a few of the highlights from my perspective.
There are things in this bill that I wouldn't have included--the Democrats wouldn't have included had we written the bill alone. I don't support the weakening of Dodd-Frank and the restrictions on the District of Columbia and other things, but I didn't write this bill. Senate Democrats didn't write this bill alone. It is a compromise. That is what legislation is all about.
The Presiding Officer has been a Governor for the State of Maine. He is now a legislator and has been a legislator, and he knows that legislation is the art of compromise. Any chief executive who has to work with a legislature, as Presidents of the United States do, does not get everything he wants. Legislation is a compromise. And that is what this legislation is.
We are going to consider this legislation to keep our government open and funded, and we are going to do it today--I hope. There are Senators who are unhappy with this legislation, and they will have a chance to make their objections heard. I hope we can complete work on this bill as soon as we finish the Defense bill. That depends on everyone's cooperation here. But there isn't a lot of time. The government funding runs out at 12 o'clock midnight on Saturday.
When we started this Congress, the government was running on autopilot. Since 2011, we have lurched from crisis to crisis, with the country constantly under threat of a shutdown or financial catastrophe. It is a very bad habit, and one the American people are very, very tired of, as they should be.
This bill is, I repeat, far from perfect. But when we pass it, we will be able to end this Congress knowing we put our country on a more secure financial footing than when this Congress started. We can then go home to our States, tell our constituents we passed legislation that keeps America safe, makes college more affordable, spurs the economy, and keeps our government operating.
Talk about a CR for 3 months should scare everyone. So we are not there. We are going to have a bill that funds this government for the next fiscal year. We can be satisfied that we left our priorities better funded and more secure, and our government on a more sound foundation than when this Congress began.