December 17, 2013

On Senate Floor, Kaine Calls For Passage Of Bipartisan Budget Act Of 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Budget Conference Committee, called for Senate passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that reverses many of the across-the-board sequester cuts that have disproportionately impacted Virginia and restores certainty to the U.S. economy, as well as families and businesses across the Commonwealth. Since taking office last January, Kaine has consistently called for a return to normal budget order and relief from sequestration.

“I gave my first speech on the Senate floor in February to urge my colleagues to avoid sequester and in the months since I have visited Virginia shipyards, research universities, early childhood education centers and seen the effects that sequester has on Virginians, on Americans and on our economy,” said Kaine. “What we've done with this budget deal is take a step back to regular budgetary order to give certainty to the economy. Under the agreement, defense cuts of an additional $20 billion that were scheduled to take effect in January will not go into effect and we will find ways to restore funding and avert sequester cuts to non-defense accounts as well.”

Kaine acknowledged that he does not support certain provisions in the deal that were added in order to find compromise with the House, including a reduction in the cost of living increase (COLA) for certain military pensions – a measure that was not included in the Senate Budget he voted for in March.

“An additional weakness is the way we’ve dealt with the cost of living increase for military retirees pre-age 62 who are not disabled. I don’t agree with that compromise provision,” said Kaine. “All the senators currently in the chamber worked so hard to pass a budget in March that did not contain that provision because it was not the way we felt we should be dealing with the budget.”

"I am pleased that Chairman Levin has signaled his intention to review the COLA provision in the Armed Services Committee next year since it will not be scheduled to take effect until 2015,” said Kaine.

The two-year, bipartisan agreement will relieve $63 billion of sequester cuts for fiscal year 2014 and 2015 and increase the topline discretionary spending level for fiscal year 2014 to $1.012 trillion and to $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015. It will also avert additional defense cuts – including $20 billion in cuts that were set to take effect in January 2014.