From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement in support of the bipartisan budget agreement reached today by Budget Committee Chairmen Patty Murray and Paul Ryan:
“This bipartisan budget agreement has my support. It helps create certainty for America’s families and businesses by preventing another government shutdown and averting sequester for two years. I hope it marks an end to the shutdown, slowdown, slamdown politics that have damaged our economy and families. Delay is no way to run a nation. I commend Budget Committee Chairmen Murray and Ryan for their hard work to reach this bipartisan agreement.
“The Murray-Ryan budget agreement, first and foremost, prevents harm to American families, seniors, children and veterans. It protects seniors and families by preserving the social safety net of Medicare and Social Security.
“Second, it puts middle class families first by ending this lurching from crisis to crisis so we can make smart choices about investments in America’s future. That means creating jobs today with investments in infrastructure like roads, bridges and clean water. And creating jobs for tomorrow with investments in research and discovery that lead to life-saving cures and new ideas that lead to new products and new jobs.
“This bipartisan agreement means we can meet national security needs while meeting compelling human needs like education, health, and housing.
“As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, I support this agreement because it avoids sequester for two years. This means we can fund the operations of government through regular, annual appropriations bills, instead of through last minute, stop-gap bills that put the government on autopilot. It also means creating certainty that’s crucial to the stability of our economy and our standing and reputation in the world.
“We’ve taken a step forward in rebuilding trust among ourselves and with the American people. I look forward to continue building that trust by working across the dome and across the aisle to produce a bipartisan, fiscally responsible appropriations bill that makes smart choices for the American people.
“Though I support this agreement, it’s a compromise and it’s not perfect. I’m deeply disappointed it requires some federal employees to pay more for their retirement. For too long, federal employees have been scapegoats of deficit reduction. I would have preferred for negotiators to find savings by closing tax loopholes and cancelling outdated dust bowl era farm subsidies.
“But because of this agreement, federal employees can get their cost-of-living increase and they will no longer face the uncertainties of furloughs and pay cuts. And I’m so relieved the agreement rejects the draconian proposal to make federal employees pay 5.5 percent more for their retirement.
“I’m on the side of federal employees. I fought hard to make sure federal employees can get their first their cost-of-living increase in four years. They can count on me to keep fighting for them.”