Corker, Perdue Slam Massive $1.4 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill; Fleischmann, Graves Support It

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Senator Bob Corker
Senator Bob Corker

In remarks on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, Thursday slammed the massive $1.4 trillion “omnibus” spending bill, calling it one of the most “grotesque” pieces of legislation he can remember during his two terms in the Senate. Georgia Senator David Perdue also opposes it.

Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Tom Graves were among those supporting it. H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed the House with a vote of 256 to 167. 

Rep.

Fleischmann said, “I believe in our country, I believe in the men and women that serve our great nation, and I believe that we should no longer ask so much from our armed forces while allowing the resources, tools, and funds available to them to remain depleted. Today, I joined members of House and voted to increase defense funding for our armed forces on the ground, in the air, and on the water. In detail, this bill makes investments of $47.4 billion for our planes, $37.3 billion for our navy, and $22.1 billion to best prepare our sons and daughters for deployment. The time is now to properly equip our military to support our allies and stand strong against our adversaries.

"In addition to the largest increase in defense spending in 15 years, this legislation marks an end to the continuing resolutions that have hampered the progress our of nation, by funding our government through the duration of the 2018 fiscal year. As an appropriator, I am proud to see all 12 appropriations bills receive support from my House colleagues after tireless work from the House Appropriations Committee.

"Most importantly, this legislation substantially benefits Tennessee’s Third District. As neighborhoods and communities unite against the toxic opioid crisis, an additional $4 billion in funds are included for treatment, prevention, and to allow local law enforcement to further their mission against this national emergency. In addition, the Chickamauga Lock is a vital piece of infrastructure that supplies jobs and supports the East Tennessee economy. This bill will fully fund this project, and marks another milestone toward the timely completion of the Lock.”

Rep. Graves said President Trump’s America First Government Funding Bill "contains major conservative policy victories and includes many of Georgia’s top federal priorities."

He said, “President Trump’s funding bill puts America First and Georgia First. A key part of the president’s Make America Great Again plan was to rebuild our military. This bill delivers the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years, including the biggest pay raise for troops in eight years. Additionally, the bill makes a down payment on rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and provides new funding to secure the border and build the wall. The bill also includes major victories for Georgia. It protects our water rights, directs critical funding toward the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and ensures the more than 100,000 service members stationed in our state get the resources they need.”

Rep. Graves listed highlights of the bill:

 

-  Defends Georgia’s Water Rights
Eliminated language from the Senate bill that was intended to negatively impact Georgia’s water rights.

 

-  Rebuilds and Strengthens the Military
Largest rebuild and increase in military funding in 15 years, providing an additional $61.1 billion to strengthen the military, including a 2.4 percent pay raise for the troops.

-  Supports Georgia’s Contribution to National Defense
Ensures the more than 100,000 servicemembers stationed in Georgia get the resources they need, including:

 

-  $1.1  billion for M1 Abrams Tank upgrades as well as $744 million in upgrades to the Stryker Combat Vehicle, both of which are important capabilities for the Armored Brigade Combat Teams at Fort Stewart.

 

-  $862 million for the Ohio Class Nuclear Submarine Replacement Program, which will be located at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia.

 

-  $103 million for new wings for the A-10C Warthog, which is located at Moody Air Force Base.

 

-  $2.4 billion for 25 new C-130J aircraft, which are manufactured in Marietta, GA.

 

-  $405 million in funding for the next generation JSTARS aircraft, a critical intelligence gathering platform stationed at Robins Air Force Base. 

 

-  Funds Border Wall and More
Provides a $1.6 billion down payment to begin construction of President Trump’s border wall and provides additional funds to hire more Border Patrol agents.

-  Protects Life
Prohibits taxpayer funding for abortions.

-  Ensures Success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Provides $320 million to ensure a smooth transition to the brand new tax code and improve services and response time for taxpayers.

-  Fights Terrorism 
Provides an additional $19 million to the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to fight terrorist financing and enforce sanctions against Iran, North Korea, Russia and Cuba.

 

-  Protects Veterans
Provides the highest level of funding ever for the seven million veterans who utilize the Department of Veterans Affairs, including funds for mental healthcare, suicide prevention, homeless veterans services and opioid abuse treatment; and increases oversight of the VA.

 

-  Rebuilds National Infrastructure
Makes a down payment to rebuild and improve our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, including $50 million for the Savanah Harbor Expansion Project.

 

-  Empowers Small Businesses and Spurs Job Creation 
Provides more than $700 million for the Small Business Administration to support private-sector job creation and economic growth in local communities as well as more than $12 million to help veterans start and grow small businesses.

 

-  Improves Cybersecurity
Includes $100 million to begin implementation of the Technology Modernization Fund, a top priority of the Trump administration, which will help defend the country against devastating cyberattacks by hostile nations. 

-  Combats the Opioid Epidemic

Provides nearly $4 billion to combat the opioid epidemic ravaging rural communities across America.

-  Invests in Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Other Disease Research
Boosts funding for the National Institutes of Health by $3 billion for research to prevent, slow and cure diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes. 

-  Sets the Stage for Next Generation Wireless Services
Includes the historic RAY BAUM’s Act, which prepares the Federal Communications Commission for the future while ensuring rural communities like Northwest Georgia have access to 5G wireless data, as well as uninterrupted access to broadcast television and radio.  

-  Expands Internet Access
Contains more than $600 million for programs to expand internet access in rural areas like Northwest Georgia. 

-  Reins In the EPA
Freezes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and slashes unnecessary and harmful EPA regulations, such as the rule allowing the EPA to regulate the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle.

-  Safeguards America’s Sacred Relationship with Israel
Maintains critical funding for joint defense and security programs.

Senator Perdue said, “Washington has reached a new low. We are six months into this fiscal year and we are just now voting on funding for the remainder of it. Not to mention, this is after two shutdowns and five continuing resolutions. This is beyond pathetic. It is irresponsible, and a danger to our Republic.

“Unfortunately, this spending bill is not a product that represents everybody. It’s a product written by a few politicians who got in a room and decided how to spend a trillion dollars. The result is a massive spending package projected to increase the federal debt by another trillion dollars. This is no way to fund the federal government. While this bill provides our military with more funding, it does not provide them with more certainty in the long-term.

 

“The larger problem here is the budget process has failed again. It is imperative the newly formed Joint Select Committee change the budget process to address the structural problems that lead to this unacceptable outcome. For the last three years, I’ve been working with both Democrats and Republicans, and I am convinced we need a politically neutral platform to fund the government on time, every year without using continuing resolutions or massive, last minute spending packages.

 

“I came to the U.S. Senate to change how Washington works, and I have not given up. We will not solve our nation’s $21 trillion debt crisis by simply fixing our budget process, but we won’t solve the debt crisis unless and until we fix our broken budget process.”

Here are excerpts from the Corker speech:

“I came to the United States Senate almost 12 years ago. I have nine months left in my term. I told folks back home (that) I couldn’t imagine serving more than two terms, and yet it has been an incredible privilege to be here. 

“When I ran, I ran concerned about our nation’s fiscal issues. And [I] ran on the combination of pro-growth tax reform and entitlement reform and dealing with the tremendous deficits that our country has. I really thought we would do something about it. 

“We had the financial crisis that took place back in 2007, 2008, 2009. It was building in 2007, occurred in 2008, and we dealt with much of it in 2009. I remember talking to people around our country then not just about the financial crisis but about the tremendous deficits that our nation was creating. 

“I was still hopeful in my first term that we would rise to the occasion and actually deal with the fiscal issues that are going to haunt these young people, who are our [Senate] pages sitting before me [on the Senate floor].” 

*** 

“Near the end of my first term, I kept saying to people around the country, ‘There’s no question that the United States Senate and House, with leadership from the executive branch, will deal with this fiscal issue.’

“I am convinced today that is not going to happen until there’s a crisis in our nation. 

“Let me say it one more time. Without extreme leadership at the very top, I do not think we will deal with this [fiscal] issue until there’s a crisis because I just don’t see the will here to do the things that need to be done.” 

*** 

“What concerns me is today before us – or maybe tomorrow – we have a 2,232-page omnibus bill before us that sets the base in spending… there will be about $2 trillion in deficit spending over the next 10 years… 

“I think everyone knows that, like you, I am a very strong supporter of our men and women in uniform. No doubt, you know, we all understand the defense numbers in this bill are way beyond even what the executive branch had asked for… 

“We’re voting on a bill tonight or tomorrow that is going to add – there’s no question – a minimum of $2 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years.” 

*** 

“You know, there are a lot of discussions about the fact that maybe the Republican Party has lost its soul… 

“…For the Republican Party to have the presidency, and for the Republican Party to have the Senate, and for the Republican Party to have the House of Representatives, and for us to be passing a bill today – obviously it couldn’t happen without us, we control the agenda here – for us to be in a situation where we’re getting ready to pass a bill that adds $2 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years, or sets the stage for that… [it] does have to be a wake-up call to people as to whether that’s the case. 

“I can’t imagine, for instance, had the 2016 election gone a different way and we had a Democratic president, and we controlled the House and Senate, I can’t imagine us being in a situation where we would vote tonight or tomorrow for a bill that’s going to add $2 trillion in debt without offsets. As a matter of fact, I can just tell you absolutely that would not be the case.” 

*** 

“What is of great concern to me is the fact that we’ve made no attempt whatsoever to create any kind of offsets. No attempt whatsoever to try to solve our fiscal issues. And just together, Republicans and Democrats, are running off the cliff... 

“Now, let me speak to my Democratic friends…We have $21 trillion in debt today, not to speak of the $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. 

“My Democratic friends raised unmitigated H-E-L-L over the tax bill that was going to potentially create some deficits if the growth projections didn’t occur. I have not heard a word from them. Not a word. Not a word about the fact that there’s no question we’re adding $2 trillion in debt here. No question. This is money gone. Down the tube. Out the door. No way to pay for it. I haven’t heard a word from them. Not a word.” 

*** 

“And my friends in the media, which just couldn’t – were beside themselves, beside themselves in December. The world was going to come to an end if the growth projections that were laid out didn’t occur and the deficits that might be created by this tax bill if we didn’t have the growth. They were just beside themselves. I have not heard a word from them.” 

*** 

“Let me just say this. I’m optimistic about our future. I see young people around our country that are just so impressive. I go to schools. I go to colleges. I see people in town hall meetings and restaurants, at the grocery store, and other places, and I could not be more upbeat about the generation of people who are coming after us who care about others, who care about the future, who are engaged in issues. We will have a big crowd of people up here this weekend caring about a particular issue that they should care about. 

“But I could not be more discouraged about where we are today with our adult leadership here in Congress and at the White House. This is one of the most grotesque pieces of legislation I can remember.” 

*** 

“…This is a grotesque piece of legislation. [It is] grotesque that we would pass a piece of legislation that would set the standard for $2 trillion in deficit spending, not offset. 

“I’m discouraged. I’m discouraged about where we are today. I’m discouraged about the fact that we continue to be engaged in generational theft, my generation. 

“We won’t deal with mandatory spending, mandatory spending that benefits my generation. To these young people sitting in front of me: we’re engaged right now in generational theft because we are transferring from you, to us, your future resources because we don’t have the courage or the will to deal with issues.” 

*** 

“By the way, unfortunately, the American people are not there. The American people do not care about this issue because we’re living fat and happy today and because the crisis has not yet occurred and because we can sluff it off on you and keep ourselves from making these tough decisions… 

“…When we pass this bill, your standard of living will be diminished when you go on to college and graduate and start working in your jobs. Just know that what we’re getting ready to do tonight or tomorrow is going to diminish your standard of living because we’re going to pass a huge bill, unpaid for, that you’re going to pay for and your children are going to pay for… 

“I hope after you’ve been here – I know you’ve seen some outstanding people. I serve with outstanding people in this body. I really do. Intelligent, hardworking people. I really do. It’s been a great privilege. But what you’re going to see tonight and tomorrow [is] you’re going to see a bunch of hardworking people pass a piece of legislation that’s going to make your lives and your kids’ lives worse. 

*** 

“Let me say that I will not support this piece of legislation, and I know it’s going to pass overwhelmingly because there’s too much in it to make people happy for the moment. But let me just say: down the road, the American people are going to be very unhappy with our lack of responsibility. And not only do I question the soul of my own party, I question the soul of the other party. And I wonder where the media is and why they’re not out crying over what we’re getting ready to do. With that, I yield the floor.”  

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann issued the following statement after voting in support of the H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act: 

“I believe in our country, I believe in the men and women that serve our great nation, and I believe that we should no longer ask so much from our armed forces while allowing the resources, tools, and funds available to them to remain depleted. Today, I joined members of House and voted to increase defense funding for our armed forces on the ground, in the air, and on the water. In detail, this bill makes investments of $47.4 billion for our planes, $37.3 billion for our navy, and $22.1 billion to best prepare our sons and daughters for deployment. The time is now to properly equip our military to support our allies and stand strong against our adversaries. 

"In addition to the largest increase in defense spending in 15 years, this legislation marks an end to the continuing resolutions that have hampered the progress our of nation, by funding our government through the duration of the 2018 fiscal year. As an appropriator, I am proud to see all 12 appropriations bills receive support from my House colleagues after tireless work from the House Appropriations Committee. 

"Most importantly, this legislation substantially benefits Tennessee’s Third District. As neighborhoods and communities unite against the toxic opioid crisis, an additional $4 billion in funds are included for treatment, prevention, and to allow local law enforcement to further their mission against this national emergency. In addition, the Chickamauga Lock is a vital piece of infrastructure that supplies jobs and supports the East Tennessee economy. This bill will fully fund this project, and marks another milestone toward the timely completion of the Lock.” 

H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed the House with a vote of 256 to 167.

 Rep. Tom Graves voted for and the House passed legislation to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2018.

“President Trump’s funding bill puts America First and Georgia First,” said Rep. Graves. “A key part of the president’s Make America Great Again plan was to rebuild our military. This bill delivers the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years, including the biggest pay raise for troops in eight years. Additionally, the bill makes a down payment on rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and provides new funding to secure the border and build the wall. The bill also includes major victories for Georgia. It protects our water rights, directs critical funding toward the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and ensures the more than 100,000 servicemembers stationed in our state get the resources they need.”



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