U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget committee, today criticized Republican obstruction of the budget process as they continue to object to appointing conference members. The most recent motion to appoint conferees was made today by Kaine's Budget Committee colleague, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). During Kaine's speech on the floor, he noted that while there are signs of economic recovery, a budget deal between both houses is necessary for growth.
"On March 23 this body passed a budget," Kaine said. "And as we've seen over the past few days, the very group of people that criticized the Senate for not wanting to pass a budget have done everything they can, and pulled out every procedural mechanism they can come up with, to block the nation from coming up with a budget. This is an abuse of rules and it is directly contrary to the members' claims now for years they wanted to pass a budget. This is not just a matter of budget, it's not just a matter of numbers on a page. This is hurting our economy."
During his remarks, Kaine highlighted the damaging impact sequestration has already had on jobs and military personnel throughout the Commonwealth, arguing that the budget passed by the Senate in March would replace the sequester with a balanced approach to grow the economy and responsibly reduce the deficit. Kaine also noted that despite the support of a majority of senators in February, Republicans blocked earlier attempts to mitigate the sequester impact by reducing the amount of across-the-board cuts and increasing revenue to offset harmful effects to defense and programs like education and infrastructure.
Kaine also referenced testimony from an Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee hearing earlier in the day, noting that Republican obstruction is not only hurting our economy, but also hurting our defense.
"We talked about the effect on the nation's security that is upon us as we are going through budgetary challenges including the sequester," Kaine said. "We talked about the effect of sequester on what the witnesses called the platform, the shipbuilding, the assets that we need to keep us safe in a challenging world. We talked about these budget crises and how they hurt our planning. Because instead of planning in a forward looking way we're tying up all of our planning time to meet one self-imposed crisis after the next."
In closing, Kaine urged his colleagues to end the obstruction, saying: "we passed this budget 46 days ago, we were here till 5:00 in the morning, we voted on a hundred amendments, everyone had their chance to have their say and after a conference they'll get their say again. They'll have a chance to express their opinion. I urge my colleagues to rethink the position that they're on and to allow this budget to move into conference so we can do the business of the United States of America."