Back to Work
A Senate That’s Back To Work For the American People
Americans elected a Republican majority in 2014 to break through Washington’s gridlock, and from the start Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has worked to restore the Senate to a place where the needs of the American people are met. As Majority Leader, McConnell works with his Republican colleagues to advance conservative legislative priorities, while reaching across the aisle to find areas where sensible bipartisan solutions can be achieved.
Under his leadership, the Senate is back up and running with a legislative process that is more open than in years past — providing senators from both parties with more opportunities to offer legislative solutions to meet the needs of their states.
Referring to the first year of the Republican majority, the National Journal observed that “the 114th Congress solved big, entrenched problems,” and The New York Times noted that the Senate “racked up a series of legislative accomplishments.”
Under McConnell’s leadership, the Republican Senate is focused on passing commonsense measures designed to help move America forward, including legislation to:
- Enact permanent tax relief: A Republican Senate took decisive action to make critical tax relief for families and small businesses permanent — all while setting the stage for the kind of comprehensive tax reform America desperately needs. And in order to keep the Internet open and free for Americans, the Senate responded by permanently banning taxes on their Internet access — a significant departure from previous Congresses that only acted on short-term extensions, which left consumers in jeopardy.
- Address our national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic: A Republican Senate passed comprehensive legislation to address America’s growing prescription opioid and heroin epidemic — enhancing prevention, education, treatment, and recovery programs; expanding prescription drug monitoring programs; and providing law enforcement and first responders more of the tools they need to combat this epidemic.
- Reform K-12 education: Under a Republican Senate, No Child Left Behind was repealed in favor of conservative education reforms, which The Wall Street Journal called the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.” This education reform law stops Washington from imposing Common Core, strengthens the charter school program, substitutes one-size-fits-all federal mandates for greater local and state flexibility, and shifts historic levels of power away from Washington bureaucrats toward those closest to students – namely parents and schools.
- Modernize America’s transportation system: After years of short-term extensions, a Republican Senate led the way in passing the longest-term transportation funding bill in nearly two decades. This transportation law helps fix America’s crumbling highways and infrastructure, ensures state and local governments have the certainty they need to plan and build, and helps create much-needed jobs across America.
- Keep Americans safe in airports and skies: The most pro-passenger, pro-security Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization to be seen in years was steered through by a Republican Senate. The legislation includes important provisions aimed at keeping American travelers safe in both the airport and in the sky, and contains a number of consumer-protection benefits like refunding baggage fees for lost bags – all while not imposing onerous regulations or a dime in new fees or taxes on passengers.
- Care for our veterans: A Republican Senate has worked to better protect America’s veterans and hold the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable for years of neglect and abuse. The Clay Hunt Act takes action on suicide prevention and mental health treatment for our veterans. Additionally, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act helps provide more timely and local care to qualifying veterans and mandates a broad review of the VA’s health care system to determine where problems exist so they can be fixed.
- Strengthen national security and our military: Providing for the national defense and supporting American troops are among the Republican Senate’s top priorities. As the National Journal observed, the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act “contain[ed] hundreds of provisions to assist the military,” including a pay raise and modernized retirement benefits system for troops, and measures to help keep America safe by ensuring troop readiness and providing for necessary training and equipment. In response to the growing national security threat posed by North Korea, the Senate voted unanimously to hold Pyongyang accountable with new sanctions that are designed to deter its aggression and keep America and its allies safer as a result. These sanctions have since become law.
- Combat cyberattacks: Cyberattacks threaten governments, businesses, and individuals alike. After years of inaction, a Republican Senate took decisive action. This landmark cybersecurity law safeguards the personal information of Americans and protects individual privacy.
- Repeal Obamacare: For years the American people called on Washington to build a bridge away from Obamacare and toward better health care for all Americans, and for years the previous Democratic Senate majority blocked every attempt at repealing this partisan law that attacks the middle class. Under Republican leadership, the Senate passed a bill that would end Obamacare’s cycle of broken promises and failures — and sent it to the president’s desk.
- Protect seniors’ access to doctors: For too long, seniors on Medicare faced the near-annual threat of losing access to their physicians under Medicare. But, a Republican Senate acted and fixed the problem permanently, ending the cycle of short-term patches and reforming Medicare’s payment system.
- Modernize American energy & environmental policies: A Republican Senate has made a balanced energy and environmental agenda a priority. The Senate passed the first major energy legislation in nearly a decade, helping modernize American energy policies and infrastructure while also supporting jobs, driving growth, and strengthening national security. In addition, the long-standing oil export ban has finally been lifted. The first bill the Republican Senate acted on authorized the construction of the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline. The chamber also passed the first significant environmental reform bill, the Toxic Substances Control Act, in decades — giving more certainty for businesses and ensuring uniform safety standards for products our families use.
- Help victims of trafficking: Every year in America, countless innocent victims — including children — are bought and sold into modern-day slavery. Under a Republican Senate, this transformative human rights legislation extends a helping hand to these victims is the law of the land.
- Support American products at home & overseas: A Republican Senate has led the way in tearing down international barriers to American-made and -produced goods. Trade Promotion Authority helps support American jobs and exports through smart trading practices and provides for more congressional oversight when it comes to trade negotiations and agreements. A trade preferences law promotes trade with developing nations and assists businesses in the United States by allowing duty-free treatment of the materials and parts used by U.S. manufacturers. And, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a trade secrets bill that would help safeguard American innovation and entrepreneurship from sophisticated efforts to steal the very things that give our nation a competitive edge in the 21st Century economy.