05.23.17

Statement Of Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy On The Trump Budget

[President Donald Trump Tuesday released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2018.  The proposal is the latest iteration of the administration’s budget since the release of the so-called  “Skinny Budget” in March.  Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday issued the following statement.]

The President’s budget displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the role of government of, by and for the people in supporting the middle class, lifting up the most vulnerable among us and serving our values and interests as a nation.  We should be supporting opportunity and creating jobs, caring for veterans and promoting our health and the environment -- not recklessly slashing vital lifelines to the American people.

It has been, and continues to be, my goal to complete the appropriations process in the Senate the way it is supposed to be done.  Each of the 12 appropriations bills deserves debate and a vote on the Senate Floor in a bipartisan process.  That is in the best interests of the country, and I believe that Chairman Cochran shares this goal.

The President’s budget proposal is not bipartisan.  And it is not in the best interests of the country or of the real priorities of the American people.  It’s unbalanced, needlessly provocative and appallingly shortsighted.  It is not a pathway toward returning the Senate to doing its work the way it is supposed to be done. More than being dead on arrival, this budget is truly odious on arrival.

The appropriations process is where we set the nation’s spending priorities.  It is where priorities become more than concepts or promises or words; it is where they become real.  This is just the latest version of the President’s unbalanced priorities.  It is an unbalanced budget with serious and harmful consequences for our economy, for working families, for those who are struggling, for our environment, for health, and for our national security. This is not acceptable.

The power of the purse rests with Congress, and as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee I intend to exercise that power.  I look forward to working with Chairman Cochran in laying a bipartisan path forward.  A path forward that returns the appropriations process to the way it should be done and produces bills that reflect our values as a nation.

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