September 28, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) spoke on the Senate floor slamming the broken process and political gamesmanship from President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) contributing to a government shutdown faceoff.
“The Majority Leader is forcing a vote with a false choice – between a bloated and wasteful omnibus bill or a government shutdown,” said Ricketts. “It’s manipulative. It’s wrong. And I won’t stand for it. We cannot keep giving President Biden and the Majority Leader a blank check to spend Americans tax dollars however they want. A broken process will always result in a broken product. We have to do better.”
Ricketts also criticized the lack of fiscal restraint and lack of funding to control the border in the government spending bill being considered on the floor.
“The bill the Senate is now considering ultimately does nothing to address President Biden’s wasteful and unnecessary spending,” said Ricketts. “It does nothing to secure our border which is being overrun by cartels trafficking migrants and drugs. Dangerous drugs like fentanyl that are killing Americans everyday. We should have an open government and a closed border. The bill we are considering right now keeps federal government spending at its inflated, post-pandemic levels. Federal government spending is up 40% in just the last four years. 40% in just four years. That’s unacceptable.”
Watch the video HERE.
Yesterday, in a conference call with Nebraska media, Ricketts condemned Majority Leader Schumer’s decision to give Senators just 40 minutes to read the 79-page bill before the first vote on the Senate floor.
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:
Senator Ricketts: “Thank you, Mr./Madam President.
“I’m hearing from a lot of Nebraskans concerned about the chaos around here this week as we debate legislation to fund our government.
“We should be debating the reckless, big government spending that’s left us with a national debt over 33 trillion dollars.
“That’s over $251,000 per household. That’s about the average price of a home in Nebraska.
“So our debt is like having two mortgages.
“This crippling debt has real consequences.
“It leads to higher consumer costs and interest rates. It slows economic growth. It stifles opportunities for American families.
“With stubbornly high inflation, families across the country – including those on fixed incomes – are tightening their belts to stretch their budgets.
“My office has heard from plenty of Nebraskans this week who are angry Congress refuses to do the same.
“We need to fund our national defense and what’s needed to ensure our national security.
“That includes closing our open border.
“We need to fund essential government services.
“What we don’t need to do is keep throwing money at partisan causes or unnecessary and wasteful spending.
“The time to have important conversations about how to do all of that is during government funding bills.
“Now, there is a process to do that without coming to the brink of a government shutdown.
“It starts with the president giving us a budget by February 6th.
“However, President Biden gave us his budget over a month late.
“Congress must pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30th to avoid a government shutdown.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the first 2 bills on June 22nd and the remaining 10 in July.
“For nearly two months since then, the Majority Leader could have brought these bills up for votes right here on the Senate Floor.
“We could have debated them, amended them, and ultimately passed final versions of them.
The Majority Leader chose not to do that. Instead, he’s played games and created this shutdown faceoff.
“He has squeezed the calendar to force his and President Biden’s plan to spend trillions of dollars we don’t have.
“For example, this week, Senators were given 40 minutes – just 40 minutes – to read and analyze a 79-page bill to continue government funding before the first vote on it.
“Unlike Nancy Pelosi, I’m not going to vote to pass something just to find out what’s in it.
“Nebraskans deserve better. Americans deserve better.
“The bill the Senate is considering now ultimately does nothing to address President Biden’s wasteful overspending.
“It does nothing to secure our border which is being overrun by cartels trafficking migrants and drugs. Dangerous drugs like fentanyl that are killing Americans.
“We should have an open government and a closed border.
“The bill we’re now considering also keeps federal government spending at inflated, post-pandemic levels.
“Federal government spending is up by 40% over just the last four years.
“The Majority Leader is forcing a vote with a false choice —– between a bloated and wasteful omnibus bill and a government shutdown.
“It’s manipulative. It’s wrong. And I won’t stand for it.
“We cannot keep giving President Biden and the Majority Leader a blank check to spend American tax dollars however they want.
“A broken process will always result in a broken product. We have to do better.
“During my time as Governor, we kept the size and scope of government small.
“It wasn’t always easy, and it often required tough conversations, but our state was better off for it.
“We ran government more like a business.
“We improved the level of service to families in need.
“We invested in infrastructure like roads and broadband.
“And we delivered $12.7 billion in tax relief.
“In Nebraska, we kept the growth of government spending at 2.8% per year on average.
“The federal government – in just the four years from 2019 to 2023 – has grown its spending by 40%.
“Now here’s the crazy part. President Biden is actually going to declare some federal employees nonessential — send them home —- then pay them back pay when they come back.
“If they’re essential, they should keep working. If you’re nonessential, why do we have them?
“Our federal government must be effective and efficient, not bigger and worse.
“In Nebraska, we proved its possible to do that.
“Bringing that success to Washington was a big reason why I wanted to serve as Senator.
“I will continue fighting to get our fiscal house in order to make sure we can continue to provide the essential services Americans expect and deserve from the federal government.
‘My colleagues and I will continue to have serious conversations about how to do that.
‘And I hope President Biden and the Majority Leader will do the same.
“Thank you, Mr/Madam President.”