U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, on Monday announced his opposition to Democrats’ partisan approach to the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process.
As the upper chamber begins crafting legislation to set next year’s federal government spending priorities, the strategy Senate Democrats’ have employed falls short of adequately funding the U.S. military, according to Alabama’s senior senator.
“Chairman Leahy’s decision to unilaterally unveil partisan spending bills is a significant step in the wrong direction,” said Shelby. “This one-sided process has resulted in bills that spend in excess of the Democrats’ own budget resolution and fail to give equal consideration to our nation’s defense.”
Shelby made mention of the majority party’s exclusion of provisions which he contends have traditionally received bipartisan support during his tenure in the Senate.
“Their bills are filled with poison pills and problematic authorizing provisions, and they remove important legacy riders on topics like terrorism, abortion, and immigration that for years have enjoyed broad support on both sides of the aisle,” he added.
Among the issues to which Shelby and his Republican colleagues have taken exception include what they deem to be a “reckless” domestic spending agenda, progressive reforms to border security and immigration, abortion “financing” domestically and internationally, partisan labor reforms and “Green New Deal” priorities.
“A successful appropriations process rests on trust and bipartisan cooperation like we had in recent years under the Shelby/Leahy framework,” the senator continued. “Regrettably, we’re a long way from that now. If Democrats want full year appropriations bills, they must abandon their go-it-alone strategy and come to the table to negotiate.”
According to the release from Shelby’s office, Democrats have placed “poison pills” within the appropriations bills which it claims would “weaponize government agencies against Democrats’ political opponents.”
His office cites Democrats’ proposal to increase the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget by 14% and the removal of “a longstanding prohibition on the IRS issuing rules to regulate political groups,” a measure which was adopted after the tax collection agency targeted Tea Party groups during the Obama administration.
Shelby concluded, “We need a topline agreement that does not shortchange our nation’s defense and a willingness to set aside partisan politics. Only then will we be able to produce full year bills for the American people. Otherwise, we will oppose these partisan drafts. The clock is ticking.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL