October 02, 2023

A Short-Term Funding Fix

Hello Folks –

Folks who read this newsletter regularly know that I love sports. I’m bummed the Mariners are on the outside looking in at the MLB playoffs. But football in our state this year is off to a strong start with the Huskies and Cougars looking great. And I’m hoping the Seahawks take it to the Giants tonight on Monday Night Football.

I’ve even started getting into soccer (admittedly, Ted Lasso helped). I played soccer as a little kid (our team was “The Maroon Monsters”), and I think it’s a fun sport.

Admittedly, I thought about a specific soccer concept over the last few weeks – the “own goal.”  An “own goal” occurs when a team accidentally scores on themselves (kicking the ball past their own goalkeeper and scoring a goal for the other team).

The past few weeks – with the chaos of a potential shutdown – were an example of Congress nearly scoring an “own goal.”  Shutting down the government would’ve been the ultimate “own goal” – damaging, dumb, and entirely avoidable.

While I’m relieved that – for now – a shutdown has been averted, it’s not like Congress should be congratulated for doing its most basic responsibility – and for not scoring on itself.

So, what on earth happened this weekend in Washington, D.C.?

A Short-Term Funding Fix

In a previous edition of this newsletter and many recent conversations with folks from across our region, I’ve reiterated just how damaging, downright stupid, and entirely preventable a government shutdown is. We stood at the brink of another such crisis this weekend, one that could’ve severely impacted the lives of millions of hardworking Americans and their families.


In the lead-up to this, a whole lot of political games played out. Despite the fact that Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate agreed on government spending levels back in May, things were pushed to the brink.


Well, the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” a faction of extreme D.C. Republicans demanded 30% cuts in all government spending as well as a number of partisan policy provisions to restrict reproductive freedom, LGBT rights, and other matters unrelated to government spending – simply to keep the lights on. Unfortunately, rather than working with Democrats on a bipartisan agreement, the Speaker of the House spent weeks trying to get the Freedom Caucus on board, bringing forward proposals that were more and more extreme.

Finally, on Saturday, the Speaker agreed to bring a bipartisan resolution forward to fund the government for 45 days while the House and Senate try to pass a long-term spending deal. For months, I’d been advocating for a bipartisan path, and on Saturday the lights were kept on because Democrats and Republicans finally came together at the last minute.

Last week, I went on ABC News to talk about the importance of pursuing a bipartisan path to avoid a shutdown. You can watch my interview here.

Let’s be clear about the resolution that became law Saturday night after passing the Senate and being signed by President Biden: It prevented an “own goal” – but it’s not a long-term solution. It’s a stopgap, a 45-day measure that keeps the government running and addresses urgent disaster relief in parts of our nation recently hit with extreme weather. It did help us avoid a shutdown and protect the economic interests of our nation.


But it’s not the long-term answer required to provide stability and efficiency for federal agencies. And it was not a perfect solution. I’m disappointed over the absence of aid to Ukraine. Their fight for democracy must remain a priority.

The rollercoaster of political brinkmanship we’ve witnessed is not the stability and foresight America deserves. Over the next month-and-a-half or so, I’ll work for a spending agreement that aligns with the Bipartisan Budget Agreement from May.

For all our federal workers – from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Olympic National Park and beyond – I offer you this assurance: I stand with you today and always.

In the meantime, I’m not letting up. Instead, I’m working on legislation to protect federal workers and their families from foreclosures and evictions and called on President Biden to keep federal childcare centers open for federal employees in the event of a future shutdown.

During these uncertain times, remember that my offices in Bremerton, Tacoma, and Washington, D.C., are open and at your service. My team is ready and eager to assist – answering questions, connecting you with resources, or offering support in any way possible.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Dramatic

One of the reasons I came to Congress was my desire to make government work better. As you’ve seen from the last few weeks, Congress remains a fixer-upper. But it doesn’t have to be this dramatic!

For the past four years, I served as the Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan committee whose sole mission was making Congress work better for the American people.


We passed over 200 recommendations to make Congress work better for the American people. In fact, we made roughly ten recommendations to reform the budget and appropriations process in hopes of preventing the type of drama we just witnessed.

I’m proud of the bipartisan progress the Modernization Committee made – even though there’s still clearly a lot of work to do. I’m committed to seeing our proposed reforms get implemented to build a Congress that is more effective, efficient, and transparent … and able to meet its basic responsibilities.

About two weeks ago, my Republican counterpart on the Modernization Committee, Representative William Timmons of South Carolina, and I received the Democracy Award for Innovation and Modernization from the Congressional Management Foundation. You can watch the brief speech I gave regarding the importance of continuing the efforts to improve Congress here.

Working for You


Celebrating Korean Heritage

I was honored to join the Asia Pacific Cultural Center for the seventh annual Chuseok Festival – a celebration of community, art, and the Korean community in Tacoma. Thanks to the APCC for continually bringing us together!


Empowering Educators

It was great to meet with leaders from the Washington Education Association. As the son of two retired public school teachers, I’m proud to champion legislation to boost education funding and ensure educators and their families receive full Social Security benefits.


Improving our Infrastructure

The challenges at Gorst aren’t just traffic woes. They impact the Navy and the entire economy of Kitsap County. It was great to join State Senators Marko Liias and Emily Randall to help folks understand why this project matters for our region.

OK – that’s it for now, folks. As always, I’m honored to represent you.

Derek Kilmer
Derek Kilmer