Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement after the Senate approved a Continuing Resolution that funds the federal government through Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the current fiscal year:
“The good news is that the federal government will not shut down because the Senate failed to act; that is the result of passage of the Continuing Resolution passed today that funds the federal government for the remainder of FY13. The bad news is that keeping the government running came at a heavy price for Maryland, federal workers across the country, low-income Americans, as well as our schools, law enforcement and public health. It is a sad day when we are forced to choose between partisan gridlock and voting to allow furloughs for civilian defense employees, closing the door to Head Start programs for needy children, extending a pay freeze for federal workers into a full third year, and shuttering air traffic control towers that serve as magnets for commerce and jobs in local communities nationwide. Sequestration was supposed to be such an extreme measure that it motivated Democrats and Republicans to come together and find a reasonable path out of our fiscal mess. Based on my personal discussions with colleagues, I know that there were willing members on both sides of the aisle. However, such compromise was blocked at every turn by those whose sole agenda has been to take a hatchet to the federal government and the very hard working men and women who carry out its essential functions – protecting our borders, finding cures for disease, keeping our skies safe, supporting our military and veterans, and much more. There is a better way and we need to work together to find it.
“I am pleased that the Senate was able to give the Department of Defense and other agencies some degree of flexibility to allow for sequestration cuts to be more strategic and slightly less hurtful across-the-board. Hundreds of thousands of our military members also will be pleased that we voted to restore their tuition assistance, which had fallen victim to sequestration. Unfortunately, many others impacted by the harsh knife of sequestration were not so lucky. My hope is that we can now turn our attention quickly to the FY14 budget and use it to set real, thoughtful priorities for spending and revenue that will restore strategic investments in job-creating, economy boosting programs while also addressing our long-term deficit in a responsible and adult manner.”