WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today delivered remarks at a committee business meeting and spoke about how Democrat leadership has twisted and mangled the budget process—on a partisan basis, with the thinnest of majorities—to spend taxpayer dollars with no oversight, no control, and completely sidelined the Appropriations Committee and its members. Hagerty stated that he would oppose moving ahead with any appropriations bills until there are bipartisan spending limitations, parity between defense and non-defense spending, and an agreement to maintain common-sense guardrails that everyone on the Appropriations Committee has supported year after year.
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Remarks as prepared:
Chairman Leahy, Vice Chair Shelby, thank you for holding this markup today.
I am a new member of this Committee, but I have learned that the Appropriations Committee, and the Senators and staff in this room have a reputation for working in a bipartisan fashion, conducting proper oversight of federal spending, and making the tough decisions on how to prioritize precious taxpayer dollars.
However, over the last few months, it seems like this Committee has been sidelined and standing idly by while Congress, on a party line basis, spends 5 times what this Committee is tasked with in an entire year.
Let me be clear on this, Democrats have so twisted and mangled the budget process—which is supposed to impose discipline and harmony across this and every other Committee’s work—to spend, on a partisan basis, with the thinnest of majorities, more than this entire Appropriations Committee managed in Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined.
And think about all of the oversight and care this Committee takes with taxpayer dollars, grinding against the executive branch year after year. Giving them assignments and checking their work. All of this partisan reconciliation spending has zero oversight from this Committee.
Additionally, all of this new, uncontrolled spending has been on the non-defense side of the ledger, weakening American national security at a time when the world is more dangerous because of actions taken by Communist China, Russia, and Iran
Not only are the Democrats spending like a teenager with a parent’s credit card—Congress is 58 days away from a government shutdown, and the Treasury just blew passed its debt limit by more than $2 trillion dollars.
This is the context that surrounds what we are being asked to do here today. Any single Democrat Senator in this room has the power to end this insanity and reclaim this Committee’s purpose: to make tough, bipartisan choices within spending constraints.
But not a single one of our friends on the other side, not one, has stood up to say enough is enough. Each and every one of them is willing to allow trillions of dollars to be spent, in the middle of the night, using a partisan parliamentary trick, with no oversight.
In the business world, there is a name for CEO who authorizes massive increases in spending without knowing how much in total the company will take in or spend in a year— Former CEO.
I applaud the work that has been done to get us to this point, but I will not support moving ahead with any appropriations bills until:
1. There are bipartisan 302a and 302b allocations;
2. There is parity between defense and non-defense spending; and
3. There is agreement to maintain common-sense guardrails that everyone on this committee has supported year after year.