Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013—Motion to Proceed—Continuedby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2013-03-12
REID. Mr. President, I am somewhat amazed and stunned. You would
think that someone who is given an answer to the question--yes--should
pretty much be satisfied.
We have been trying to keep the government from shutting down. I appreciate the work done by the Speaker. I didn't agree with his bill, but I appreciate what he did, and he did it in a timely fashion.
The chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski, has been negotiating with her Republican counterpart, Richard Shelby, for days now. They worked all weekend, late into Sunday night, and they worked out a bipartisan agreement. They offered the amendment here. Now we hear from a couple of Senators: Let's not take up the bill. They need more time.
I thought people wanted to have an open amendment process on this bill. Offer amendments. Now it appears that the day is gone. I guess we won't be able to offer amendments today. I have said all along that we would turn to it as soon as possible. Our Republican colleagues said they want to see the first amendment that was to be offered. They saw that. They were originally given to certain people in the leadership office on Saturday about noon, and there has been every effort to work together on this matter. They wanted to see the first amendment that will be offered. I have indicated that was done; they saw it. There were negotiations to get to where that is. But now Senators want to prevent us from going to the bill. Remember, if I file cloture today, the earliest we can have the vote is Thursday.
We are going to finish this CR, and we are going to finish the budget before there will be an Easter recess. That is a fact. So everyone should understand that delaying on this--because they want to read the bill more deeply, I guess--doesn't really make a lot of sense.
[[Page S1687]] We are going to do the budget resolution. I have made that clear, and I emphasize that now. And the Republicans have been talking about--even though it is basically without foundation--that we haven't had a budget resolution. We haven't needed one. We had one that was not a resolution, it was a law that set the standards for what we would do with our budget. It set ceilings on how much we would spend. As a result of that, we were able to get the funding for our subcommittees and appropriations. But they want a budget resolution, which isn't as good as law, and we are going to do everything we can to get that done.
So if Republicans object to allowing the Senate to be in consideration of a bill negotiated with Republicans, then the only people who will be disadvantaged are other Republicans who want to be able to offer amendments.
So I regret that again we have come to this. Just when you think it can't get worse, it gets worse. There are things we have to do. The CR is one of those. If it means cutting into the April recess--we have 2 weeks to do a lot of things people have planned for some time--then that is what we will need to do. But I am stunned.
I learned about this when we had the President at our caucus. I really am flabbergasted that here we are on the eve of doing something together, regular order, but regular order around here is stopping every bill from going on the floor. That is what the regular order is here. I thought we had some kind of an agreement at the beginning of this Congress that this wasn't going to go on anymore. We had that 2 years ago. We changed the rules here a little bit.
There is going to be tremendous angst within my caucus and I think the country to continue trying to legislate with the burdens that we bear, that just one or two people do everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into everything we do. As a country, we are being looked at as being inoperable. It is too bad. It is not good for this institution, and it is really not good for the country.