WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the bipartisan budget agreement passed by Congress and signed by the President:
“Today, I voted to keep the government open and provide certainty for our budget after months of unnecessary delays and frustrating efforts to kick the can down the road. This bill ensures that the military, the federal workforce, and other programs have a roadmap for the next two years by fixing the “stupidity on steroids” of the sequester cuts first enacted in 2011. In addition, this bill provides critical funding to address important priorities like fighting the opioid crisis, disaster relief, and included an additional four years of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and bipartisan Medicare reforms.
“I do have grave concerns about language that has been inserted into this package which may hinder the ability of the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct aggressive, real-time oversight over the entire intelligence community. I intend to work with Chairman Burr and my colleagues in the coming weeks to resolve this issue.
“I voted for this package reluctantly. While it includes many worthy priorities, it was put together without any semblance of fiscal responsibility, and comes on the heels of the budget-busting $2.5 trillion Republican tax package. Experts tell us that when you combine this spending bill with the tax package, the deficit will easily blow past one trillion dollars next year. In 2015, it was less than half that.
“I was in business longer than I was in politics, and I know that there are times when you need to make critical investments, and even sometimes operate at a loss. But this has gotten to a point of being indefensible. Unemployment is low, the economy is stable, yet here we are, putting money on the nation’s credit card. In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress must step up and get serious about finding balanced solutions for our long-term fiscal challenges.”