This week the Senate considered several important issues before adjourning for the holidays. The issue foremost in the news was the Ryan-Murray Budget. As I announced earlier in the week, I voted against cloture and voted against the budget. While I commend Chairman Ryan in his efforts to prevent another shutdown, I could not in good faith support the budget bill. Included in the bill were retroactive cuts to military retiree’s cost-of-living adjustments. While I do agree there should be restructuring of the military retirement benefits, it should not touch those veterans who have already earned and are relying on their pensions. Along with the COLA cuts, the budget also included significant changes to the Senate budget rules that would allow Senate Democrats to circumvent the 60-vote threshold in order to pass a tax increase or increase spending.
Our country is on an unsustainable path that cannot be solved by forcing procedural changes or budgetary gimmicks dressed as “offsets” that do nothing to change how much the federal government is spending. It’s time for us to be honest and to address the real drivers of our debt — out of control entitlements and slow economic growth.
To hear more about my votes on the budget, listen to my interview with Bill LuMaye.
On Tuesday, I introduced a bill that would tackle real wasteful spending by consolidating the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce into a single, new agency called the Department of Commerce and the Workforce (DOCW). Combining offices with similar functions within these two agencies is a common-sense approach that would reduce wasteful spending, cut duplicative programs, and would streamline our approach to comprehensive economic policy. Read more about the bill, here.
Last year, I introduced the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act which the Senate unanimously passed, leading to the State Department declaring the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization. I am very pleased to share that Senate Leadership included my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which calls on the Secretary of Defense to issue a report outlining the Defense Department’s strategy to disrupt and degrade the Haqqani Network’s activities and finances.
Finally, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I look forward to serving you and North Carolina in the new year.