SCHUMER: “Now, Mr. President, I’m pleased to say that the four congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the omnibus spending bill. That’s now public. It didn’t happen until last night. It took a long time, painstaking weeks of negotiations, more than a few of which went past the midnight hour.
Before I go further, I want to thank Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan and their staffs, Leader Pelosi and her team, Chairman Cochran, Vice Chairman Leahy and the Appropriations Committee staff and many others for all the hard work that went into this bill.
Now, it certainly doesn’t have everything Democrats want, and it contains a few things Democrats aren’t thrilled about. The same is true of our Republican friends. That is true of all compromises. If each of us stood on our hind legs and said, ‘If I only get everything I wanted, I’m voting no,’ we would be totally paralyzed. That happens far too often in this body. But somehow on this appropriations bill, this omnibus, that didn’t happen. There is a remarkable spirit of give-and-take in the room.
Overall, we Democrats are very happy with what we have been able to accomplish on a number of very important priorities to the middle class in America: infrastructure, education, opioid treatment, mental health, child care. For nearly a decade, the middle class in this country has suffered from a needless and self-imposed austerity, limiting investment of all of the things that create good-paying jobs and improve the working conditions of Americans, improve the lives of Americans.
This spending bill, this spending agreement brings that era of austerity to an unceremonious end and represents one of the most significant investments in the middle class in decades. So many in the middle class are frustrated. They don’t know why. Well, one of the reasons is quietly but unfortunately quite decisively this Congress cut back on the very ladders that helps the middle class climb, in education and infrastructure, in health care. It was cut and cut and cut, and the help that the federal government has given to the middle class since the Progressive era of the early 1900’s was taken away quietly but decisively. It’s back. It’s going to help middle-class people stay in the middle class. It’s going to help those aspiring to the middle class climb that ladder and get there. It’s really a good thing and I’m excited about it.
And as the Republican leader mentioned, it robustly funds our military, giving our men and women in uniform the resources they need. It also improves our ability to respond to wildfires. It makes a critical down payment on election security, provides a reliable pathway for the essential infrastructure projects in our country, and makes an incremental but important progress on the issue of gun violence, a debate this Congress must resume soon.
So again, that era of austerity which so hurt middle-class Americans is coming to an unceremonious end because this bill represents one of the most significant investments in the middle class in decades. For these reasons, I’m confident that this agreement will pass both Houses of Congress, hopefully with comfortable margins, hopefully in a bipartisan way.
Again, I thank the Republican leader for his part in reaching this agreement, and I look forward to passing this legislation as soon as possible.”