Merkley Statement on Continuing Resolution and Defense/Labor Spending Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement regarding the combined Continuing Resolution and Labor-Health and Human Services/Defense spending bills:

“This vote was not an easy decision. Ultimately, I voted ‘yes’ on this package because it includes important priorities for Oregon and our nation, including training the National Guard to fight wildfires, supporting nursing workforce development, conducting critical medical research, and boosting career and technical education.

“I want to be clear, however, that I have concerns about the significant amount of defense spending in this bill, and would not have voted for it on its own. Additionally, I am concerned that this bill adds to a trend in which defense spending is given special treatment, while many other domestic priorities are left behind. We should not be boosting defense spending while keeping the vast bulk of domestic investment frozen at 2018 levels.  Congress should pass those other stalled bills, without poison pill riders, as soon as possible.

“It is critical that we maintain America’s military might and provide our service men and women the resources they need. But I object to wasteful spending, including for the creation of new nuclear weapons for war-fighting missions instead of nuclear deterrence. We should balance military spending and increased investment in critical priorities here at home such as education, health care, and infrastructure—all of which are also critical for our long-term security and prosperity.”