U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, took to the Senate floor again today to call for an end to Republican obstruction on the budget. In his remarks, Kaine noted the proposed budget would replace the sequester cuts in the next fiscal year which have caused 800,000 furloughs of Department of Defense civilian employees this year, including 90,000 in Virginia.
"As we've taken steps to begin a budget conference, again and again individual senators have stood up in this body and, in my view, abused Senate rules to block a conference. Even as budget indecision and sequester are leading to furloughs, they have blocked a conference from even beginning. Even as we are seeing a reduction in the number of people who are able to receive Meals on Wheels or children in Head Start, they have abused Senate rules to block a budget conference from even beginning," Kaine said.
"Today there is an announcement that in my Commonwealth, 90,000 civilian Department of Defense employees and hundreds of thousands of DOD civilians nationally will be furloughed for 11 days between now and the end of the fiscal year. This furlough announcement, along with ample other evidence that we've discussed in this body in the last few weeks, demonstrates that budgetary gridlock, budgetary indecision, budgetary stalling has real-life consequences," Kaine continued.
Kaine detailed the work of the Budget Committee and the full Senate to successfully develop and pass the first Senate budget in more than four years. The process included more than 13 hours of debate in the Budget Committee, followed by 40 hours of debate on the Senate floor where roughly 110 amendments were considered -- 77 of which were passed.
"This is not fundamentally an attack on budgets," said Kaine. "It is an attack on the whole notion of compromise. To block a conference committee from beginning so that House and Senate conferees could sit down and try to listen to each other and iron out their differences is fundamentally an attack on compromise, and we have seen that too much in this body. If you are a member of a family, if you are a member of a parish council, if you are on a PTA, if you are part of the organizing group of a little league, if you have a business, if you are in an elected office from the school board to the United States Senate, everyone knows if you participate in group life, it has to be about compromise."