Murkowski Votes to Provide Greater Economic Certainty, Removes Threat of Default

Bipartisan Budget Act Heads to President’s Desk

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski released the following statement after her vote for H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which passed in a vote of 64-35:

“While the Budget Act is an imperfect plan, it does prevent a government shutdown and the very real impact that would have on Alaskans. I reluctantly voted in favor of this bill because it provides relief from the financial brinkmanship that Alaskans have, unfortunately, become all too used to seeing from Washington. In less than a week, our nation’s treasury would be unable to pay its bills without this deal. Defaulting on our obligations is something I simply cannot accept.

“For the first time in years we are addressing much needed entitlement reforms, making positive changes to Medicare and Social Security. This is spending that simply cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

“Since enactment of the Budget Control Act in 2011, the Armed Services have been distracted by persistent threat of sequestration. This agreement provides desperately needed stability to our military leaders, making it possible for the Armed Forces to confidently move forward with critical projects like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar and makes the investments needed to improve combat readiness.

“I have consistently maintained the position that proceeds from the sale of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) should be directed toward improving our nation’s energy security. To that extent, I am pleased to see that the budget agreement directs $2 billion toward the repair and improvement of the SPR itself. 

“While there is a real limit to the amount of oil we can sell from the SPR, the language in the budget deal protects our ability to meet our international obligations, but we need to be vigilant that the SPR not drop below the level that would endanger our energy security. 

“Through an appropriations process that is now more clearly defined, we have the ability to help direct where funds will be spent and keep downward pressure on spending.” 

Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.