Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders issued the following statement after voting against a three-week continuing resolution. However, Congress appears ready to pass a short-term funding bill and send it to President Trump. It leaves long-term spending plans and an immigration compromise unresolved. Congressman Peter Welch added that he will vote no when the bill comes to the House.
Sanders: "The reason I voted against today’s continuing resolution is simple: tens of millions of lives are at stake. We must act NOW, not kick the can down the road.
"We're talking about the fate of 800,000 Dreamers who have lived here almost all of their lives, but could soon be faced with deportation if we don't act now. We're talking about 27 million Americans who will find it harder and harder to get their health care through community health centers because that program has not yet been reauthorized. We 're talking about many thousands of people with disabilities who will die because they couldn't get their claims processed in a timely manner by an underfunded and understaffed Social Security Administration, and veterans who will not get the care they need at the VA because that agency now has 30,000 vacancies. We're talking about the need to provide adequate disaster relief for the people of Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico – an island where hundreds of thousands are still without electricity.
"Enough is enough. We cannot continue to run a $4 trillion government on a month to month basis. We need an annual budget. The Republican Party controls the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the White House. They are the governing party. They have got to govern, not ignore the major crises facing this country."
Leahy: “I’m relieved there is an end in sight to this shutdown. But Republican leaders and President Trump have left too much undone – from a bipartisan budget deal, to disaster relief, to community health centers, to the opioid crisis, to DACA. There are many pressing and unfinished priorities, and I cannot give my support to yet another short-term, stopgap measure that, yet again, keeps budget priorities on autopilot, without the ability to adjust for changing priorities since these budget levels were frozen a year ago. We now are 114 days since the beginning of the fiscal year, when these appropriations bills should have been finished. The American people, our communities, our men and women serving in the military, our veterans, and all Americans need and deserve a long-term deal, and we need one now.”
Welch: “I will vote ‘no’ on this Continuing Resolution. Today marks the fourth time in four months that Congress will pass a budget patch rather than a long-term budget that reflects the pressing priorities of the American people. We cannot continue to lurch from one continuing resolution to another. Imagine if the city of Burlington could only pass a budget for 17 days, as Congress is now poised to do for the country. The fire department could not purchase a new truck, and the police department could not hire a new officer. Congress has to do its job and pass a long-term budget. Regarding the Dreamers, Senator McConnell has offered weak assurances that the Senate will soon address their status. Speaker Ryan has given no such assurance to the House, not even a weak one. If he allowed a vote on the Dream Act today, I am confident it would pass the House with bipartisan support, yet he refuses to do so.”
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2018