December 18, 2013

Kaine: With Passage Of Budget, Achieved Two Of My Highest Priorities For First Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the bipartisan Budget Conference Committee, released the following statement after the Senate voted to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, 64-36.

“With Senate passage of a two-year budget agreement tonight, I’m proud to say that we’ve achieved two of my highest priorities for my first year in office – getting a budget agreement through the House and Senate and offsetting the worst effects of sequestration that have disproportionately impacted Virginia.  During the opening meeting of the Budget Conference Committee last month, I called on my fellow conferees to ‘surprise the cynics.’ I’m so glad we did.

“Over the past 11 months, I witnessed the impact of budget uncertainty and sequestration by visiting military installations, private shipyards, research universities and early childhood educations centers across the Commonwealth. With passage of this compromise budget deal, we’ll replace $63 billion in non-strategic sequester cuts and prevent another government shutdown, restoring much-needed certainty to these Virginians, and to our economy as a whole. It also allows appropriators to write full bills that will give the Department of Defense more flexibility to plan for the future and allow the Navy to continue its critical shipbuilding and repair work.

“There are provisions in the compromise that I do not support, including a reduction in the cost of living increase (COLA) for certain military pensions. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation this week to replace the $6 billion in cuts by closing a corporate tax loophole that companies use to avoid paying U.S. taxes. I’m hopeful we will be able to undo these changes before they take effect in 2015 and I’ll work in the Senate Armed Services Committee to do so.

“There is more work to be done to replace the remaining non-strategic sequestration cuts and address our long-term fiscal challenges, but Congress has now shown that we can work together in a bipartisan way, as the American public demands and deserves.” 

Since taking office in January 2013, Kaine has consistently called for a return to normal budget order and relief from sequestration, even delivering his maiden Senate floor speech in February on the urgent need to find compromise and avert across-the-board sequester cuts.