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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. MIKULSKI. This is tough, but the leader has to govern the Senate and move the bill. But a question for the people who watch us and don't know what all these parliamentary maneuvers mean. If there is an agreement to move forward with amendments, is it possible that tomorrow we could vitiate it?

Mr. REID. With the tremendous work Senator Coburn has to put into this so he can finish it in the next 12 hours, maybe we can move to the bill tomorrow. But I know he has a lot of work to do on the bill, so we will have to see how he feels about it tomorrow.

Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I really want to thank my vice chairman, Senator Shelby, for being on the floor all day today in anticipation that we would have already voted on two amendments. I think he and I both regret the present situation.

I would hope the Senator who has grave concerns and waited to read the bill could really finish it overnight. We worked every night, I must say, not only my staff, but in talking to the Senator, and we were available to each other by phone. I was talking to Congressman Rogers, our House counterpart, and we were working. I know that Saturday night we didn't close out until 9 o'clock at night; Sunday, not until 11 o'clock at night. That is why we wanted to get this over, so they could look at it.

So I say to those holding up the bill, I would like you to work through the evening the way we worked through the evening. If you want to see if there are other issues--and we acknowledge the Senator's right to do that, but, really, we do not want to face a shutdown, and there is this other issue of the Budget Committee that we would like to get on the floor. What a great message to the American people that with good will and sensibility and give-and-take--and there was a lot of give-and-take--we can govern.

My hope is that by the time we get to the end of next week--actually, the end of this week--we will have passed the continuing funding resolution and we will have passed a budget, with ample debate.

The Senator and I, House Members, Senate Members--we welcome amendments. We welcome debate. But what is frustrating to me is that we have had a very interesting day, but we had two amendments pending, two different viewpoints on health care and human services. We could have debated and been able to dispose of them in a way that would have brought honor to the institution and moved our legislation forward.

So let's show we can govern. Let's really show we can govern. And I hope we can get to our bill tomorrow and not necessarily go through the whole usual filibuster rules.

Again, I thank the vice chairman, Senator Shelby. I thank Senator McConnell for the way he helped and conferred on many issues.

I yield the floor.

Mr. REID. Madam President, I want everyone to hear what I am saying now. If somebody comes to me and says: You can get on the bill if you give me these amendments, I won't agree. We will have cloture on it on Thursday.

We are through the dealmaking stage. We have been dealmaking on this bill--an important piece of legislation--for more than a week, and if a Senator comes to me and says: You can go to the bill tomorrow, but I want to make sure I have all these amendments, the answer is no.

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Ms. MIKULSKI. The Senator is exactly right. What we are trying to do is to run a rescue operation to keep the continuing funding going on--really, the President will submit his budget next week, and the Budget Committee will be off and running. We will actually hold hearings on every subcommittee, and it will be an open and transparent process. Members will be able to participate, and we will return to that bill by bill. When you are dealing with a bill that has all 12 subcommittees in it and it is $1 trillion, they think, wow. But we are going to do that regular order.

I thank the Senator. I am so happy she is on the committee. I look forward to showing her what regular order is.

I know the Senator is going to stand up, as she has done on so many occasions, to champion the cause of women; is that correct?

Mrs. SHAHEEN. That is correct. And I appreciate the leadership the Senator has shown.

Ms. MIKULSKI. Well, in the dignified way of the Senate and the way we talk, go for it.

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