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Public Statements

Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mrs. BOXER. Madam President, I wish to add my words to those eloquently spoken by our Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray and by one of our leaders here, the able Senator from New York, Mr. Schumer.

We have been waiting for hours and hours. I can only imagine what the public thinks when they look down on this floor and absolutely nothing is happening.

I came down here not knowing my friend and colleague was going to be here. I guess we both had the same sense of it, that we had to explain to the American people why this is happening. There is only one reason: Republicans are stalling and stalling and stalling and filibustering and filibustering and filibustering. But they are not doing a talking filibuster; they are just letting the clock tick. They are filibustering a very important bill to keep this government open. They say they want to keep the government open and they don't want to shut down, so why not get that vote done with?

Senator Mikulski has led us, in a beautiful way, with Senator Shelby, in a very bipartisan fashion--let's vote on that bill, keep the government open, and, as Senator Mikulski said, show the country we can work together and get to the one thing the Republicans have been saying not for months but for years; that is, a budget.

The truth is, instead of doing a budget, we did the Budget Control Act, so of course we did a budget. As a matter of fact, the Budget Control Act was actually in many ways more specific than a budget.

But setting that aside, they went out on the campaign trail and attacked Democrats: Where is your budget? Where is your budget? Well, guess what. Under the able leadership of my friend from Washington Senator Murray, there is a budget, and it is well done, and it has strong deficit reduction and strong investments. It is balanced in a way the Ryan plan is not. It saves Medicare where he destroys it. It invests in education and infrastructure where he destroys that. His budget is a wrecking ball. Our budget, under the able leadership of Senator Murray, is an optimistic path to our future, not the pessimistic, painful plan Mr. Ryan put forward in the name of the Republican Party.

Now the people are witnessing a filibuster. It is possible that we could end it, but I will tell my colleagues this: We are trying for some friendship and comity across the aisle right now. We want to keep the government open.

The Senator from Kansas stood here last night and said the reason he is filibustering--he never used that word, but the reason he is insisting that we spend 30 more hours, 40 more hours, 50 more hours on this last year's business, which is last year's appropriations bill, is because he demands to have a vote on his amendment, about which he feels very strongly. It has to do with making sure the sequester doesn't hit our air traffic control towers, meaning they can stay open. I agree with the Senator from Kansas; we should keep those air traffic control towers open. But I want to say to him--and maybe we have a chart here, if I can get to it--I want to say to my friend who isn't here who is leading the filibuster that this is where we are.

We want to restore those air traffic controllers. But I will tell my colleagues what I want to restore in addition to the air traffic controllers and the towers--he is right--I want to restore Head Start for 70,000 children. I want to restore 10,000 teacher jobs. I want to restore 7,200 special education teachers who are working with kids who desperately need help. I want to restore the title I funds that impact 1 million kids. I want to make sure we can conduct 424,000 HIV tests that are administered by the CDC. How does it make us a better country when people don't know if they are HIV positive and they spread that virus? How about the 25,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings that are not being done? These are the consequences of the sequester, in addition to the terrible consequences to the FAA.

I was here when the Republicans shut down the FAA, if my colleague remembers that. They shut it down, but suddenly they care about it. Good. I am glad they care about it. I care about it too. I haven't talked about the 804,000 outpatient visits to Indian health centers or 2,100 food inspections that are going to save lives. These are not happening because of sequester: 4 million meals served to seniors; 600,000 women and children who are not getting nutrition assistance because of sequester; national science grants cut, 1,000 of them; and $902 million cut from loans to our small businesses, which are the job creators; and even 1,000 FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel.

So, yes, I say to my friend who is not here who is leading the filibuster, the Senator from Kansas--I hope he comes and shows up--I hear him. I feel the pain he feels for his State. I have a list I won't bore my colleagues with that just shows the cuts to my State. It is painful. But how do we solve it? Not by amendment after amendment after amendment on a must-pass bill that the House has said to keep simple or the government shuts down--not that way but by turning to the Democratic budget, where Senator Murray and colleagues on her committee have restored those cuts, and they have found other ways to cut, better ways to cut, sensible ways to cut.

So I call on my friends on the other side of the aisle: If you want to wait 10 hours, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 hours, it is your call. We will be here. We will be here. But we are not going to put off the passage of the budget. It is too important. We will be here until it is done.

I yield back the remainder of my time. I thank my colleague Senator Murray so much for her leadership.

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