Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013—Motion to Proceed—Continuedby Senator Daniel Coats
Posted on 2013-03-12
COATS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. COATS. Madam President, when I go back to Indiana and meet with Hoosiers, they often ask why Washington seems to experience a crisis every few weeks. It is a debt limit battle. It is a threat of a government shutdown. It is the fiscal cliff on New Year's Eve. It is the sequester. And the list goes on and on, including the funding battle we are in now. Of course, the next round of the debt limit debate is scheduled for May, and on and on it goes. Hoosiers and I think most Americans--and I think most Members of this body--are getting awfully tired of this soap opera drama that occurs every few weeks here.
I think we need to move to the point where we can address the major issues. One of the steps in doing that is to fund this government for the next 6 months. I do not know of anyone here who wants a government shutdown. We do have some urgent things we need to do. We do need to address our funding imbalance that is significantly creating a major problem for us, but in order to get there, we have to do some interim things here to keep the country functioning. We need to commit to go forward and do the big things. In the meantime a 6-month funding resolution has been brought forward here. There are things in this that none of us are going to like. Everybody is going to have problems with parts of this. Everybody is going to think it should have been fashioned just a little bit differently.
The leaders of the Appropriations Committee have put a great effort into constructing a resolution that I think will adequately fund this government going forward, but they do so with the understanding that the commitment to address our spending issues and the commitment to do everything we can to put together a large plan in order to deal with outgoing issues is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, that will be accomplished in the next few months. To start that, you have to have a budget.
I am pleased now that we are going to be taking up a budget debate in terms of the next fiscal year's funding, and we will be taking that up next week. So these two measures together, with the sequester that is already in place and actions that have already been taken, hopefully will be putting us on a path to fiscal health and solvency.
Every family, every business, even local and state governments have to operate on a budget or they cannot maintain and establish the kind of fiscal discipline necessary to get to the point where they are not spending more money than they are taking in. We have seen a cataclysmic plunge into debt that has enormous impact on the future of this country, and we have to address that.
Vice President Biden once said: Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value. Well, for 4 years we have been waiting to see a Senate budget, so we do not know what is valued. Finally, we are getting to the point where we will address that.
I think the responsibility to provide a budget on which to operate is not only lawful, as it is currently enshrined in our statutes, but it is a moral obligation we must fulfill as a body. Without casting blame on one side or the other, it is time that we go through the budget process and establish the direction in which this government will go in terms of spending for the next fiscal year.
Given our soaring national debt and out-of-control spending, eventually we are going to have to make very tough choices that we have been avoiding for years. The more we prolong these challenges we face and the longer we wait to act, the harder it is going to be. We have the responsibility to wisely spend the taxpayers' dollars and not to ask more of them than is absolutely necessary to perform our essential functions.
I am urging my colleagues to go forward in doing what is necessary to keep this government operating but do so with the commitment that we will address these tough questions, that we will address the necessary procedures and make the tough, necessary decisions to put our country on a fiscal path to health. Without that, we are jeopardizing our future, and we are condemning millions of Americans to unemployment or underemployment. We are growing at half the historic rate and have been for the last 4 years. If this stands the way it is, we will continue to see a country in decline, and, more importantly, we will continue to see people hurting. We will continue to see people without meaningful work. We will continue to see an inability to provide the kinds of opportunities, innovation, and creativity that have made this country so successful in the past.
So with that, Madam President, there does not appear to be anyone ready to speak. I am happy to stop now, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.