Omnibus Appropriations Billby Senator Tammy Baldwin
Posted on 2014-12-15
BALDWIN. Madam President, this is not the time for another
government shutdown. The American people have had enough of
Washington's dysfunction. They want us to do our job and work together
to get the job done. Since the Budget Committee, on which I serve,
crafted a bipartisan agreement that ended last year's government
shutdown and paved the way for a cease-fire on recent budget wars, the
economy has gained an average of 240,000 jobs per month. In Wisconsin,
our economy continues to lag behind, so we need to build on this
progress and strengthen the economic security of families and
businesses that are working hard to move our economy forward.
This bipartisan appropriations bill will help do that by increasing the Child Care and Development Block Grant funding by $75 million; increasing the maximum Pell grant award; providing a cost of living pay raise for our men and women in the Armed Forces; increasing funding for science and research at the National Institutes of Health by $150 million; providing grants to States for job training and assistance to dislocated workers; extending Trade Adjustments Assistance for workers who lose their jobs due to international trade; and moving bipartisan Manufacturing Hubs legislation forward that I support to keep our country on the leading edge of advanced manufacturing.
I also fought to include in this legislation a number of provisions that will help us build a stronger made in Wisconsin economy, including support for our shipbuilding industry and transportation infrastructure.
With all of these benefits, I am the first to admit that this bill is far from perfect. But we have a divided government and I recognize that I can't get everything I want in this bill, just as my colleagues across the aisle can't get everything they want in this bill. This bill is a compromise.
Let me be very clear here: Republicans' insistence on including a Wall Street giveaway is extremely objectionable to me. I also strongly oppose a provision that weakens our already loose campaign laws and the changes made to multiemployer pensions deserved a full debate in the Senate, as separate legislation, not tucked into an appropriations bill by the House of Representatives at the last minute. I agree with my colleagues who have said these provisions represent the very worst of creating an uneven playing field for those hard working Americans who ask for nothing more than a voice in Washington and fair shot at getting ahead. I would also add that these provisions in particular are a direct assault on our proud progressive traditions in Wisconsin.
But what would have happened if we did not pass this bill now? I can tell you what will happen because we saw the path the Republican controlled House of Representatives wanted to take. Republicans tried to add more than 30 additional harmful policy provisions--from more Wall Street giveaways to rolling back workers' rights to eroding environmental policy--but Senate Democrats were able to use their current leverage as the majority party in the Senate to keep them out. If this bill did not pass now, Republicans would have had the power to add more objectionable provisions when they will hold majorities in both the House and Senate next year.
I supported this bipartisan compromise because I believe it is our job to deliver progress for the American people, not an endless drift from one crisis to the next or a government shutdown.