“I applaud Chairman Enzi and Ranking Member Sanders for their commitment to doing this budget on time, as well as the inclusion of a number of amendments I introduced, cosponsored, and supported, but believe this budget would need a major overhaul in order to be considered a viable, realistic blueprint for the country. The Republican Senate budget leaves intact sequester cuts that would disproportionately impact education, transportation, and health care and includes drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that would significantly impact low-income and middle class Americans. It is also hard to take seriously a budget that claims to ‘balance’ but includes gimmicks like keeping tax revenue from the Affordable Care Act despite the intent to repeal the program and take health care away from 16.4 million Americans.”
During the amendment process, the committee passed a bipartisan amendment introduced by Kaine that would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to bolster the resilience of mission-critical Department of Defense infrastructure to better withstand the impacts of climate change.
“The Hampton Roads region in my state is home to the largest naval installation in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, as well as nearly 15 other installations,” Kaine said during the markup. “In this defense-heavy region, sea level rise is occurring much faster than the historical rate of one foot a century. This is very important in my state because of sea level rise. It’s important in other states because of drought, shortages and water supply. … [This amendment] is not only good for the bases – good for national defense – but it will potentially help our communities avoid negative impacts and future BRAC rounds if there could be infrastructure improvements that would mitigate climate effects.”
The committee also passed Kaine’s amendment to support the expansion of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, as well as amendments to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, and protect our national security by strengthening our civilian federal workforce. The budget will advance to the full Senate for consideration next week.