WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to pass a package of three funding bills currently pending on the Senate floor, known as a “minibus,” which provides funding for military construction, as well as for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development for fiscal year 2024 (FY24).
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Durbin said, “Bipartisan efforts are necessary to get many meaningful things done in Washington. We accept that in the Senate. And right now, the most pressing item requiring a bipartisan effort is passing appropriations bills that finally fund the government for the next fiscal year. Government shutdowns should not be common place in Washington and yet [due to] the other party’s leadership, they have been.”
During his speech, Durbin also condemned House Republicans for their failure to elect a Speaker for more than three weeks.
Durbin continued, “Almost exactly one month ago, Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown by passing a stop-gap bill that funded the government at current levels for 45 days until the middle of November. Forty-five days could have been enough for the two parties in the two chambers to negotiate a plan, a compromise. But a few extreme House Republicans got in the way. Without a Speaker for more than three weeks, the House was unable to take action. The House was rendered useless in helping to create a plan to fund the government. And now, with only 18 days until the government’s lights turn off, time is running out.”
“While the House was paralyzed and unable to govern, here in the Senate, we were diligently working across party lines to negotiate a funding package. For the past week, the Senate has been considering amendments on a package of three funding bills—known as a ‘minibus’… This minibus will strengthen communities in Illinois and it’s being worked on on a bipartisan basis. I’m glad to support its passage and urge my colleagues to do the same,” Durbin concluded.
During his speech, Durbin praised the minibus for including Illinois priorities—including more than $5 million for agriculture-related spending in Illinois, funding that will continue cutting edge agriculture research, and send rural development dollars to small towns to make health care and emergency services more comprehensive in underserved areas. The package also includes earmarks totaling more than $16 million for military construction projects in Illinois, funding that will facilitate training and increase readiness of our men and women in uniform, and it includes more than $35 million in earmarks for community development and infrastructure projects in Illinois—to improve roads, transit service, airports, and community centers.
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
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