Alexander: Senate Should Pass Bill to Provide Fifth Consecutive Year of Record Funding for the Office of Science

Posted on September 18, 2019

“Boy Scouts shouldn’t get a merit badge for telling the truth, and senators shouldn’t get an award for debating and passing appropriations bills on the senate floor, because that is what we are supposed to do.”

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2019: U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after Senate Democrats blocked the Senate from moving forward on four important spending bills.

These funding bills would provide the fifth consecutive year of record funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the fifth consecutive increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the largest pay raise for military service members since 2010.

“Boy Scouts shouldn’t get a merit badge for telling the truth, and senators shouldn’t get an award for debating and passing appropriations bills on the senate floor, because that is what we are supposed to do. It is my hope that the Senate will move forward with these spending bills, which make up almost 70 percent of all discretionary funding, in the bipartisan manner agreed upon last month by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” Alexander said. 

“The priorities in this spending bill should not be controversial. The Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill I wrote was unanimously reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. The bill provides the fifth consecutive year of record funding for the Office of Science, which funds what I call our country’s secret weapon – our 17 national laboratories,” Alexander said. “It also provides funding for nuclear power, our best source of carbon-free power, at a time when Americans are increasingly worried about climate change. And it includes funding to keep the United States number one in the world in advanced computing, which will help us to stay ahead of countries like China in science innovation. Finally, it provides a record level of funding in a regular appropriations bill for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep dredging in Memphis and construction at Chickamauga Lock on time and on schedule.

On the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education Appropriations bill, Alexander said: “For the fifth straight year, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill includes funding increases for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, which will help speed up the development of more medical miracles that will save lives.” Alexander continued: “This legislation would also send nearly $4 billion to states and communities to continue fighting the opioid crisis, raise the maximum Pell grant to $6,330 to help more students afford higher education, and fund important priorities including research to help end the HIV epidemic and childhood cancer.

On the Defense Appropriations bill, Alexander said: “The Senate Defense Appropriations bill provides the largest pay raise for our military service members since 2010 and provides record funding to research and develop advanced technologies to keep the U.S. military the strongest in the world.” 

The Senate State and Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill provides $12 billion to operate the State Department, includes over $5 billion for embassy security to protect diplomats abroad, and provides almost $2 billion for international global health programs. 

On August 2, 2019, President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which increased the defense and nondefense discretionary spending caps for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. President Trump and Speaker Pelosi also agreed to avoid all “poison pill” amendments in order to quickly fund the government before the beginning of the fiscal year. Today, Senate Democrats blocked the Senate from considering Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bills that would fund our national defense, our national laboratories, and our national institutes of health. 

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