By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama told his fellow Senators that he would vote against all appropriations bills until the Senate passes a spending plan that complies with the Budget Control Act. Sen. Shelby made his comments on the Senate floor explaining his decision to oppose the motion to proceed to consideration of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.
Sen. Shelby said, “Given the direction we are headed, I will vote against all appropriations bills that adhere to a total of $1.058 trillion. It is not because the bills are entirely unworthy of support. It is because they will ultimately lead us to a statutory dead end and erode the ability of Congress to control how the government is funded.”
Sen. Shelby said, “Mr. President, I thank the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee for moving ahead to complete action on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. This is the first bill reported by the Appropriations Committee to be considered on the Senate floor. It is important that Congress exercise its Constitutional authority over the funding of government. If we do not pass appropriations bills, the undesirable outcome is a government shutdown.”
The conservative Alabama Senator warned, “The Senate, however, is still on a precarious path. The Majority is pursuing a top-line discretionary spending level of $1.058 trillion for Fiscal Year 2014. This exceeds the Budget Control Act level by over $90 billion. The Budget Control Act is the law that establishes and enforces, through sequestration, limits on discretionary spending. In Fiscal Year 2013, most discretionary programs were forced to take arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. We did not have to go in that direction for Fiscal Year 2014.”
Sen. Shelby said, “Over a month ago, all Republican members of the Appropriations Committee signed a letter to Chairwoman Mikulski calling for a top-line number of $967 billion that complies with the law. There could have been an alternative to sequestration. The Appropriations Committee could have written spending bills that adhere to the budget constraints of the law.”
Senator Shelby said that this would have allowed Congress rather than an indiscriminate formula to make the cuts and establish priorities as well as given the Senate and House Appropriators a better chance to conference individual bills.
Sen. Shelby said, “Instead, several of the appropriations bills between the two Chambers are so far apart that aligning them would be difficult, if not impossible.“Regrettably, because of this disagreement, the endgame will probably be a continuing resolution.“Every year that we have a continuing resolution, or a series of them, is another year that we drift further away from regular order.”
Shelby said that a continuing resolution for 2014 at this year’s discretionary spending would require another sequester under the Budget Control Act and said that he will vote against all appropriations bills if total discretionary spending equals $1.058 trillion.
Sen. Shelby said. “It is not because the bills are entirely unworthy of support. It is because they will ultimately lead us to a statutory dead end and erode the ability of Congress to control how the government is funded. Therefore, I also intend to oppose the Motion to Proceed, not because I don’t think this bill has merit, because, in many ways it does. I will oppose the Motion to Proceed because it will inevitably lead to us, once again, to an impasse that will result in further continuing resolutions and take us further away from any semblance of regular order.”
The national debt continues to climb despite a growing economy and tax increases passed on virtually all working Americans in January. The national debt is $16,874 billion. The deficit which has been over a $trillion a year for every year of President Obama’s presidency has dropped to $817 billion.
Senator Shelby is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.