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From the Senate Floor, Senator Collins Urges Colleagues to Reject Year-long CR, Fund Government

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Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Defense, delivered remarks on the Senate floor tonight urging her colleagues to reject a year-long continuing resolution and vote to fund the government.

A transcript of Senator Collins’ remarks are as follows:

          “Mr. President, several of the amendments that we will vote on propose a full-year continuing resolution, that would lock in dangerously inadequate funding levels for our national defense, and lead to cuts in other vital programs serving our veterans, farmers, low-income families, and older Americans.

          “In a briefing last month, the Commander of U.S. Central Command told me that this is the most dangerous security situation in 50 years. The idea that we would consider hamstringing our military under a year-long continuing resolution at such a time is unconscionable.

          “The Department of Defense has never operated under a year-long CR. It would reduce defense spending by $27 billion, relative to the level called for under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

          “Further, there would be problems with a misalignment of funds, that in many cases would prevent critical funding from being executed. For example, 30% of the Navy's shipbuilding requests could not be spent, because the funding would be misaligned.

          “According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under a year-long CR, 1000s of defense programs will be impacted, with the most devastating effects to our national defense being to personnel, the nuclear triad modernization, shipbuilding and maintenance, munitions productions and replenishments, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command priorities.

          “Let us also remember that we would be wasting taxpayer dollars, as we would forego billions of dollars in potential spending reductions and rescissions, carefully identified by the Appropriations committees.

          “A year-long CR would result in a military that is less able to respond to serious security threats around the globe, and it would harm important domestic investments in biomedical research, infrastructure, and other priority areas.  It would result in furloughs or hiring freezes for food inspectors and air traffic controllers, as well as slash housing assistance, at a time when we already face a severe affordable housing shortage.

          “I urge my colleagues to reject these motions, and support the responsible approach of passing this short-term measure to fund the government. We will then move to the six completed conference reports on appropriations bills and continue our important work on the remainder of the full-year appropriations bills.

          “Thank you Mr. President.”