12/12/2017 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today joined U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and 42 of their fellow Senate Democrats in sending a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to continue bipartisan budget negotiations and forgo a proposed partisan funding bill that would underfund education, clean air and water, health care, infrastructure, veterans, and other vital domestic priorities.

“Congress needs a balanced, responsible way to fix the sequester so our defense and domestic needs are met.  Achieving that goal is essential to the security and financial well-being of all Americans.  The Pentagon is critical to national security, but so is the FBI, Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and many other federal agencies that help keep Americans safe,” stated Reed.  “Some on the far right have proposed a lopsided approach that would damage our economy, hurt working families, and leave our country less safe.  That would be a disaster and it is a non-starter.  For too long, Republican leaders put off tough budget decisions while pursuing Trumpcare and corporate tax cuts.  It is time to get serious about reaching a principled compromise to strengthen our military and help grow the economy so that all Americans have a fair shot to build a better life.”

The letter, which was signed by 44 Senate Democrats, outlines Democratic opposition to a so-called “CRomnibus,” which means a funding bill that provides full-year sequestration relief for military programs but not for other important key domestic programs, resulting in devastating cuts to homeland security agencies like the FBI, as well as education, cancer research programs at the NIH, opioid treatment funding at HHS, and a host of other key programs. 

“We urge you to keep your commitment to the bipartisan budget negotiations and forego any plans to consider partisan legislation,” the 44 Democratic senators wrote.

The full text of the letter from Senate Democrats follows:

December 12, 2017

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell:

We write to express our concern with reports that the House Republican leadership is considering sending partisan legislation to the Senate that would result in funding cuts to important homeland security, veterans, agriculture and health care programs.  As you know, Democrats and Republicans are engaged in bipartisan negotiations to craft a budget agreement for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 that would avoid devastating sequestration cuts to defense and domestic programs.  We urge you to keep your commitment to the bipartisan budget negotiations and forego any plans to consider partisan legislation known as a “CRomnibus.”

According to estimates, domestic programs will see at least $12 billion in cuts in FY2018 due to sequestration and other spending obligations.  Therefore, a “CRomnibus,” which means a funding bill that provides full-year sequestration relief for military programs but not for other important domestic programs, would result in devastating cuts to homeland security agencies like the FBI, cancer research programs at the NIH, and opioid treatment funding at HHS. 

There is a better path – let the bipartisan negotiation continue in good faith so that Democrats and Republicans can produce a budget agreement that fully funds our homeland security, health care, and Veterans’ needs.  If presented with partisan legislation that leaves these key priorities behind, we will oppose it.

Sincerely,

Senator Charles E. Schumer
Senator Patrick J. Leahy
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Richard J. Durbin
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Thomas R. Carper
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Bernard Sanders
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Tom Udall
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Mark R. Warner
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Michael F. Bennet
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator Al Franken
Senator Christopher A. Coons
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Brian Schatz
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senator Christopher Murphy
Senator Mazie K. Hirono
Senator Martin Heinrich
Senator Angus S. King, Jr.
Senator Tim Kaine
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Edward J. Markey
Senator Cory A. Booker
Senator Gary C. Peters
Senator Chris Van Hollen
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Senator Maggie Hassan
Senator Kamala D. Harris
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto