RELEASE:

COCHRAN URGES SENATE NOT TO WASTE OPPORTUNITY CREATED WITH CONTINUING RESOLUTION

Chairman Says His Committee Ready to Debate FY2016 Appropriations Bills on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today said passage of a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown creates a window of opportunity to debate and pass FY2016 funding bills that should not be wasted.

Indicating his readiness to move the 12 appropriations bills approved by the Committee, Cochran said regular consideration of appropriations measures would be in the best service of the American people and the Senators who represent them.

“This short-term measure creates a window of opportunity for us to get to work. Let’s not waste it,” Cochran said. “A continuing resolution is not a good governing strategy, but was made necessary by the blanket filibuster of all the appropriations bills. This refusal to consider spending measures has deprived all Senators of an opportunity to debate the stewardship of taxpayers’ dollars. Our committee is ready for these bills to be called up so that Senators are able to give voice to the priorities and values of the people who elected them.”

Cochran issued the statement following Senate approval of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2016 (HR.719), which will fund government operations through Dec. 11, 2015. The federal 2016 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Following Senate approval of HR.719, the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill was teed up for a vote on whether the Senate will consider it. This measure to fund veterans programs and military training and quality-of-life programs was approved by the Committee in June on a bipartisan 21-9 vote.

This year marks the first since 2009 that all 12 annual appropriations bills have been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, with most of them receiving broad bipartisan support.

“The 30 Senators on the committee made thoughtful, responsible, and frequently bipartisan decisions about how to best prioritize funding to improve government operations, and where necessary, rein in executive overreach,” Cochran said. “Within established budget caps, these bills provide the highest level of support for our men and women in uniform, invest wisely in national priorities like medical and scientific research, and promote the more efficient operation of our federal government with more oversight.”

“Failure to debate and pass appropriations bills is an abdication of a fundamental congressional responsibility. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to allow debate on these bills. It is the only way to make the thoughtful, deliberate spending decisions that the American people deserve,” he concluded.

9/30/15