Click here to view video of Murphy’s remarks.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday night offered a motion to temporarily re-open the federal government and ensure that the military and federal government employees get paid while negotiations continue. His motion was blocked by Senate Republicans. Murphy has pushed congressional Republicans to negotiate a long-term spending deal that funds critical Connecticut priorities.
“As many folks know, we on the Democratic side, as well as some of our Republican colleagues, don't think it's wise to do another month-long continuing resolution. But why don't we just agree to keep the government open tomorrow? Why don't we all get together and say that on Monday people will be able to access the federal government, and we can hopefully get to an agreement on a budget that is permanent, that is long term,” said Murphy. “I'm sorry that we can't agree to this unanimous consent agreement, and I hope that we can continue to work forward through the night, all through tomorrow, to make sure that we have a long-term budget agreement that makes sure that kids get their health care, that community health centers stay open, and that the military gets the funding that they need.”
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The full text of Murphy’s remarks is below:
Murphy: “Thank you very much, Mr. President. There are a lot of Americans who don't understand what is happening right now. Republicans asked for control of the U.S. Senate. They asked for control of the House of Representatives, they asked for control of the White House. They got all three, and they promised that by doing so they would be able to more effectively manage the affairs of state, and that is clearly not happening right now. There is a fundamental inability to govern as we are now shut down for a second day. Tomorrow is an important day because many of the functionalities that people expect of the government will not be there on Monday morning, despite the fact that we have made some progress. First, on Friday night on this floor, and subsequent to that in private discussions today, in order to reach an agreement that Republicans and Democrats can support. And so I am here with several of my colleagues to make some fairly simple requests of the U.S. Senate. It seems like if we are really adults, if we're really going to operate like grown-ups, if we are going to be true, responsible stewards of the federal government, then we could keep the government open for a very short period of time while we negotiate a way out of this.
“As many folks know, we on the Democratic side, as well as some of our Republican colleagues, don't think it's wise to do another month-long continuing resolution. But why don't we just agree to keep the government open tomorrow? Why don't we all get together and say that on Monday people will be able to access the federal government, and we can hopefully get to an agreement on a budget that is permanent, that is long term, that gives certainty to everybody who receives or gives something by the federal government tomorrow. I'm going to do that. So I'm going to make a few more remarks, but before I do, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 36, H.R. 1301, the amendment at the desk that would provide for a continuing resolution to fund the government through Monday, January 22, 2018, be considered and agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered, read a third time and passed the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.”
The presiding officer: “Is there objection?”
Mr. Tillis: “Mr. President, reserving the right to object.”
Murphy: “Thank you very much, Mr. President. Let me make a few remarks. I'm sorry that the gentleman has decided to object to this unanimous consent request, which would simply keep the government open and operating for 24 hours so that we can try to come to an agreement. But let me address the central point that the gentleman just made because I’ve heard it repeated by many members of Republican leadership and other members of the Republican Senate conference—this idea that there's no controversy because Democrats agree to everything that's in the underlying continuing resolution. That's not true. It is not true. We have passed now three different continuing resolutions to just kick the can forward time and time again. The Department of Defense, as we were considering this continuing resolution on Friday night made an unprecedented decision to contradict the views of the Commander in Chief by stating that they didn't want another continuing resolution, because without real long-term certainty for Department of Defense funding, we, the U.S. Congress, were putting national security at risk. So Democrats do not agree with everything in the underlying continuing resolution because we don't believe that it is right for this government to continue to kick the can down the road. Now, I will just speak , there are other things in that continuing resolution that I object to as well. It is not just a straightforward continuing resolution. It includes the repeal of revenue that comes into the federal government to pay for the Affordable Care Act. So it is not a straightforward continuing resolution. There are other parts of that bill, one of them is a further attempt by the Republican majority gut the Affordable Care Act and the money that is used to pay for it. There are other provisions in that bill, intelligence provisions, counterterrorism provisions that many members of the Senate have objections to as well. So it is simply not true to say that there is unanimous agreement to all of the provisions in this continuing resolution.
“Further, this idea that no negotiation happened between Republicans and Democrats—that Democrats are expected to vote for a large, expensive piece of legislation with no input makes no sense either. I understand you have to get 60 votes in order to pass something, but how the Senate works is that in order to get to 60 votes, there has to be a discussion between Republicans and Democrats. If I walked into a restaurant and the waiter brought me a meal that I didn't order and then told me that I had an obligation to pay for it, I might raise some objections because that's not how restaurants work. That's also not how the Senate works. The Republicans can't unilaterally write a piece of legislation and tell Democrats that they have to support it, especially when there are provisions in it that many of us do not support.
“I'm sorry that we can't come to a simple agreement to keep this government open on Monday so that we have the time and the space to put the pieces of a long-term agreement together—that I think is easier than many people think—while our constituents still have access to the services of this government. So I'm sorry that we can't agree to this unanimous consent agreement, and I hope that we can continue to work forward through the night, all through tomorrow, to make sure that we have a long-term budget agreement that makes sure that kids get their health care, that community health centers stay open, and that the military gets the funding that they need. I think we can get there, Mr. President.”