Back To Work For The American People
When the American people elected a new Republican majority in 2014, they called for the Senate to get back to work. From day one, that’s what this majority has set out to accomplish — and we’ve gotten a lot done as a result.
Consider what we were able to achieve for the American people last year alone.
Enacting permanent tax relief for families and small businesses. Bringing an end to a job-killing energy embargo from the 1970s. Rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure with the most significant transportation solution in years. Replacing No Child Left Behind with hugely important education reforms that empower parents and prevent Washington from imposing Common Core.
We secured pay raises for our troops, help for our veterans, and hope for the victims of human trafficking.
We passed a landmark cybersecurity law that will help safeguard Americans’ personal information. We achieved a permanent solution to Medicare’s “Doc-Fix” problem so seniors would no longer face the annual threat of losing access to their physicians. We also overcame years of obstruction to place on the President’s desk a bill that would finally end Obamacare’s cycle of broken promises and attacks on the Middle Class (it was unfortunate to see the President stand by this broken law and veto our measure, but we won’t stop fighting).
Some said Congress could never break old traditions of short-term fixes and punts, but we repeatedly proved pundits wrong with meaningful and substantial reforms for our country instead.
The Republican-led Senate is continuing this progress in 2016.
We passed legislation to comprehensively combat a prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that’s destroying communities across our country. We passed legislation to substantially modernize America’s energy policies as we confront new challenges and opportunities in the future. We passed legislation to improve security at our airports and enhance consumer protections for those who fly. We also passed sanctions to deter North Korea’s growing aggression. So whether it’s help for American manufacturing, protections against intellectual-property theft, landmark environmental reform to help keep Americans healthy and support economic growth, or a permanent ban on Internet access taxes, this much is clear: In the five months since 2016 began, the Republican-led Senate has continued to pass solutions on a range of issues.
Many of these measures have already been signed into law; others we hope to see signed into law soon.
Just this past week, we passed legislation to combat sexual assault, and we began work on a sweeping defense bill that will bring much-needed reform to the Pentagon and better prepare us to confront the threats of both today and tomorrow.
We also made further progress in the appropriations process. It may not sound exciting, but it matters a lot. Here’s why:
There are 12 bills that fund the different departments of the federal government. I want to see Congress pass more of these 12 bills individually — that allows committees and individual Senators to more closely scrutinize funds being spent, and cut waste — rather than simply accepting the practice of recent years in which everything gets balled up into one massive funding bill at the end of the year. That’s not what any of us should want.
Congress hasn’t passed all of these funding bills on time in over 20 years and the appropriations process broke down almost completely under Harry Reid’s Democratic majority, so getting things back on track after so many years of dysfunction won’t be easy; but we’re making strong and steady progress to turn things around. We got the appropriations process started this year at the earliest point in the modern budgeting era — in other words, in about 40 years — and we passed the first of these appropriations bills at the earliest point in the modern budgeting era too. We’ve passed more appropriations measures since then, and we’re going to keep working to get as much done as we can.
Taking steps to get the appropriations process running again is good for the Senate. It’s healthy for the democratic process. And it allows our country to address a variety of funding issues in a more thoughtful and deliberative way.
It’s how Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats were able to pass a compromise approach to focus resources on combatting the spread of the Zika virus. Senators deliberated and forged that compromise in committee, Senators debated it on the floor, and then Senators voted to pass it (we've already begun preparing the process that will allow us to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions and get a bill to the President).
In 2014, the American people told us to get the Senate working again and to get it working on their behalf again. That’s just what we’ve worked to do.
We’re seeing every day what a Senate that’s back to work can achieve. We’re seeing what’s possible when committees are up and running again and the legislative process is functioning better again. We’re seeing what’s possible when senators from both sides of the aisle are empowered again to find areas of common ground, and then can actually work together to achieve them.
From promoting economic opportunity to keeping Americans safe and modernizing our energy policies, it’s clear that the Republican majority has made Americans’ priorities the priorities of this chamber. We’ve achieved a lot already, but much work remains.
We’re going to keep working to make a difference for our country.
By: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Related Issues: NDAA, Appropriations, Taxes, North Korea, Back to Work, Obamacare, Veterans, FAA, Restoring the Senate, Entitlement Reform, Jobs, Energy, Education, Small Business, Health Care, Opioid Abuse, Homeland Security, Economy, Senate Democrats, EPA, Middle Class, Law Enforcement, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, National Security, America's Military, Combating Sex Trafficking, Highway Bill, Every Student Succeeds Act